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Brave and the Bold (1955) #118

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"May the Best Man Die!" – (18-page story) – In Sparta Prison, Batman and Commissioner Gordon try to talk a prisoner named Dubek into talking about his former employer the Joker or risk staying in solitary confinement, to which Dubek refuses. The Joker, knowing that eventually his former stooge may crack, decides to put a plan in motion to silence him.
When Ted Grant puts on a boxing match for the prison, Dubek is picked to be the best prisoner fight the fight (in spite of Gordon's express instructions not to let them out) This allows the Joker to slip in rare tropical disease into Dubek's water bucket. This also succeeds in infecting all the other prisoners, and a doctor gives them 72 hours to live. Thankfully, there is a dog named Spot which they have used to make enough vaccine to cure everyone.
However, when they try to transport the special dog to the prison to extract the vaccine and cure the inmates, the Joker is there to attack. Although the Joker fails in capturing the priceless pooch, the dog manages to get away and run off into Gotham City. Batman and Ted Grant (reprising his identity of Wildcat) scour the city to try and find the dog. Spot is ultimately captured by the dog pound. With time running out, they put an APB out for the dog and learn that it was taken to the Gotham pound.
However they arrive too late and find that the Joker beat them to collecting the dog. The Joker then contacts Batman and tells him that he'll turn over the dog to the police if he and Wildcat agree to a fight to the death. Both men agreeing they go to Gotham's Jefferson Square Garden for the fight. The Joker makes them wear the Cestus boxing gloves of ancient Rome. When the two men begin to weaken in battle, the Joker admits to them that he coated the Cestus' with the virus and that he intends to watch them both die. When the dog bites the Joker, he orders his goon to go throw the dog in the nearby river.
Batman bluffs the Joker, telling him that the dog may have infected him with the virus with it's bite, forcing the Joker to save the dog in order to save himself, which leaves for an easy capture. When Wildcat asks Batman if it was true that the Joker got infected, Batman admits he doesn't know, but he was hoping the Joker wouldn't want to risk it one way or the other.

Creators: Bob Haney, Jim Aparo

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