COMMISSIONER’S CORNER: RIP, Patrick Day
It is an honor to tell you that this column will be coming to you on a regular basis from here on in, right here on this fabulous website.
How often is “regular basis?”
Most likely, “regular basis” is going to be every 10 days, or three times per month. However, with so much happening in the world of boxing, I will shoot for one column per week.
For years, I have been at the center of the boxing universe, in many different capacities. For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I have been the editor of World & International Boxing Magazine; the Editor-in-Chief of Boxing Illustrated; the Editor-in-Chief of Ring Magazine; a boxing analyst for ESPN, the USA Network, PRISM, SportsChannel, SNY and the MSG Network; the Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission; and the Director of Boxing for the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Since 2007, I have been a show host for SiriusXM Radio. After a two-year run as Host of SiriusXM’s “Fight Club,” I was teamed with former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney on SiriusXM’s “At the Fights.”
It has become the largest listened-to boxing show on radio. In addition, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I bring you “RANDY’S RINGSIDE” on Facebook Live, a show we’ll soon be putting on YouTube.
Sitting down with our editor, Michael Woods (at ringside, where else??!!), we discussed this column. I plan for it to be interesting. Exciting. Explosive. Informative. Comical. Emotional. Fun to read. Educational. Truthful. Non-political (I’ll give praise where praise is due and I’ll attack where attacking is called for).
So, to paraphrase ring announcer David Diamanté, “‘Commissioner’s Corner’ starts NOW!”
Last week Errol Spence was ejected from the speeding, out-of-control Ferrari he was driving—without a seat belt—at more than 100 miles per hour. Incredibly, he wasn’t killed. I know guys who have been in accidents at less than half that speed and haven’t survived. The Good Lord must have had a Guardian Angel riding in the car with Spence.
He had other plans for Patrick Day.
After being knocked out in the 10th round by Charles Conwell last Saturday night in Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, Day was rushed to Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital, where emergency surgery was performed to relieve pressure on Day’s brain. He was placed in a medically-induced coma to help slow his heart rate. Then he was placed on life support. Day’s family had the life support removed on Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, at night, the Good Lord called Day home.
In his 27 years, he meant so much to so many. To us in the boxing fraternity on Long Island, he was a champion in every respect.
The loss of Patrick Day made me think of three names. One is Charles Conwell. He is the opponent who ended the fight—and Day’s life—with a right hand-left hook. Immediately after delivering his fight-ending and fatal blows, Conwell—a 2012 U.S. Olympian—celebrated. He stopped his celebration and took on a somber tone as he glanced at the unconscious Patrick Day. You could see his concern grow as the minutes passed and Day remained unconscious. The original smile of jubilation was replaced by a look of deep concern. He knew what he was looking at was not good. He knew his blows had put Day at death’s door. He was hoping his thoughts weren’t true.
In the nearly four days following the fight, Conwell has been surrounded by family and friends, praying for some good news from Northwestern Hospital. A hand movement. A finger movement. The blink of an eye. Nothing came. And Conwell prayed. We all did. But the Good Lord, as I wrote earlier, had other plans. We know Patrick Day is in a much better place. Yet, we must continue to pray. But our prayers must also go to Charles Conwell, he is a determined warrior in the ring. Outside of it, he is a soft, emotional person.
He is going to need all of our prayers.
Another name which came to my mind after Day’s death is Joe Higgins. The longtime popular fight figure in and around ringside in New York was not just Day’s manager and trainer. He was Day’s mentor and father figure, as well. His posts on Facebook have been heart-wrenching.
He has already said on Facebook that he is through with boxing. He has said he is shutting his gym in Freeport. He has said he’s leaving boxing.
In one post on Wednesday evening, he wrote, in capital letters, “I AM BROKEN…I WANT TO DIE.” It’s amongst the saddest things I have seen in my 50 years in this sport.
Let’s pray for Joe, as well.
The third name I thought about when the news of Patrick Day’s death was released is Deontay Wilder.
Because back in May of this year, in the days before Wilder’s WBC title defense Dominick Breazeale, Wilder made one of the most bizarre, head-shaking, cringe-worthy statements in boxing history when he said “I want a body,” meaning he wanted to kill Breazeale, with whom he had been feuding for months. Doing a tap-dance-kind-of- retreat when pounced on by the media, Wilder, explained, “What I meant was, I punch so hard that it scares me to think I might kill somebody one day.” Nice try, champ. But your initial words were loud and powerful, just like your right cross.
After the fight, in which Wilder stretched Breazeale for the count, with one of those monster rights, Wilder was quick to say, “I am glad he was okay and can go home to his wife and kids.”
Sometimes, Wilder fires his hard-hitting verbal punches without giving them much thought. I can assure you Wilder is as tear-filled as we all are at the death of Patrick Day, caused by an opponent’s fists.
While you’re at it, say a prayer for Wilder, too.
I paraphrased ring announcer David Diamanté earlier in this column. I will now paraphrase a classic line sportswriter Jimmy Cannon wrote about Joe Louis:
Patrick Day was a credit to his race—the Human Race.
R.I.P. Patrick Day
EDITOR NOTE: No one has wore more hats in the biz than Randy G. I can endorse his book, “Glove Affair,” as a worthy purchase and usage of your time.