Herriman Saturdays continue with these three cartoons, originally printed on September 2, 3 and 4th, 1906. The first apparently revisits that train wreck incident alluded to in previous cartoons, and the others concern the Gans-Nelson boxing match. As a bonus, we get for no additional charge some of the worst poetry ever committed to type.
The highly touted fight, held in the Nevada hinterlands to escape anti-boxing laws, had the box-office appeal of pitting a fan-favorite boxer, Battling Nelson, against one of the greatest fighters of all time, Joe Gans. Gans was black, and any interracial boxing match was big news in those days. Nelson was considered to be over-matched, but Gans was coming into the twilight of his career, and may have already been ill with tuberculosis (he would die of the disease just a few years later). The grueling fight lasted 42 rounds, and was finally won by Gans on a foul, a low blow by Nelson. The foul call was amazing because black fighters were rarely given the benefit of a clean fight in those days. Referees made it a habit to turn a blind eye to dirty tricks by white fighters against black fighters.
Battling Nelson has a cartooning connection, by the way. He was involved in a very public and stormy love affair and marriage with newspaper cartoonist Fay King later on.