By Mark Elezaj
It has taken me some time to come to terms with what has happened to Patrick Day.
A young man that was always smiling, one who was fan friendly and most importantly, someone that was happy to be a fighter, has passed away as a result of a brain injury he sustained from his fight last Saturday night.
Day, 27, died Wednesday at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was taken following his fight against Charles Conwell.
DiBella Entertainment, his management company, said that Day had died “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team, including his mentor, friend and trainer Joe Higgins.”
Prior to his passing, DiBella Management confirmed reports that Day was in a coma and had underwent emergency brain surgery following the fight.
After Day was knocked out in the in the tenth round, medical personnel rushed into the ring to help him, before he was taken from the arena out on a stretcher. It was reported that he was unconscious, and suffered seizures as he was transported to the hospital in the ambulance.
On Tuesday, Charles Conwell, the man he fought Saturday night, posted a message to his social media page about Day.
“I never meant for this to happen to you. All I ever wanted to do was win. If I could take it all back I would,” Conwell wrote. “No one deserves for this to happen to them. I replay the fight over and over in my head thinking what if this never happened and why did it happen to you.”
Joe Higgins, Day’s trainer, recently spoke to ESPN,
“I feel like I’m responsible, like I let him down,” Higgins told ESPN, via text message. “My special kid.”
Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter, has run the Freeport PAL boxing gym since 1995. There was a sign on the gym door Sunday night that read, “Freeport PAL Boxing Gym is Permanently CLOSED.”
“I will probably take the ring out,” Higgins said. “I don’t want another a kid in that gym taking punches. I can’t do that anymore. I will probably keep it open, and replace the ring with heavybags and weight lifting equipment. I can’t give up on the kids of North Freeport. This place is for them.”
Day, a Freeport Long Island native, was also a dedicated college student who earned an associate degree in food and nutrition, and a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness.
“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” DiBella Management said in a statement.
“He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.”
DiBella said in a post on his website,
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” adding that it is time for a “call to action” to find ways to make boxing safer.
“Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world,” the statement reads. “This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us. Rest in peace and power, Pat, with the angels.”
In 2012, Day won the New York Daily News Golden Glove Champion, USA Boxing welterweight national champion, and he was the winner of the Sugar Ray Robinson Outstanding Athlete award.
Patrick Day is the third boxer to die this year as a result of injuries sustained in the ring.
To quote Joe Higgins,
“God said to Patrick, ‘you did your job, now I am going to take you home.”
Rest In Peace champ!