It is Saturday night, and there's boxing on a few platforms. There has been boxing on in the afternoon, too.
I find myself thinking not of the fights that have occurred earlier, or the ones on now…but of one that unfolded into a tragedy, in Chicago, on Oct. 12.
Patrick Day‘s last fight came into my head, as it has time and again and yet again since he was sent to the canvas in round ten of his fight with Charles Conwell, which screened on DAZN.
Patrick on Saturday morning was laid to rest, on Long Island, after a Friday memorial and a funeral that began at 8:30 am ET. No secret, no surprise, the development had hit hard in the guts of Pat's close circle, that much harder because Day was a good one, you didn't find one dissenter, not a single soul who had a even a mixed-message appraisal of his character. Trainer Joe Higgins, you had to feel for him, deeply, knowing that he said Patrick saved his life, helping lift him out of a depressive spell. He'd play over in his head that loop, that fight, those moments…and remember and re-remember, Patrick was a fighter by nature, and was doing fully and totally what he wanted to do, seek to come back from being knocked down, pull off an improbable feat. And promoter Lou Dibella, you knew he'd been stewing, wondering about this business that we choose to stand by…wondering whether our loyalty is misguided…and will it cease, sooner rather than later?
And what about young Conwell? Age 21, to celebrate a birthday on Nov. 2, an Ohio kid, by all accounts a good lad.
How was he faring? I messaged him, as part of a desire of mind as a “journalist”….first and foremost, be that human being, before your role as a news-gatherer, try to be decent and treat subjects of stories, ideally, as you yourself would want to be treated….
“Thinking of you,” I messaged Conwell, who holds an 11-0 record, and is–was?–a rising star at 154 pounds. “How are you?”
“Great,” he responded, and that threw me for a mini loop. Great?
“What about you?” He's Ohio-polite….
“Well enough,” I told him. That's my stock response for this tumultuous period in America and the world.
“Watching these fights, waiting to see when my next fight date is,” Conwell continued.
“So, I can say, Conwell is doing ok. Knows he wants to fight on, still into the sport, the game, wants to keep on pushing?”
Conwell: “Yes sir.”
“I will start back training camp in a few weeks, I decided after thinking about it. I know this is what Patrick would have wanted,” he declared.
Conwell told me the day after Patrick was felled that he stayed up all night, Saturday into Sunday, praying. He has a spiritual foundation to help keep him sturdy emotionally.
“In God we trust,” he said.
“That helps, right?”
“Yes sir. Lot of people keep asking am I going to stop, this would be good to answer all the questions people keep asking,” the fighter, still a fighter, continued.
Oh no, it has not been anything close to easy. “My team and I have been receiving death threats, through DMs,” he said. “And also we have been receiving positive feedback and prayers sent. We got to keep praying and staying strong and also it's in works of putting together an annual scholarship fund in his name–Patrick Day–to help kids in Freeport, New York! This is anther reason for me to keep working and fighting, so I can help kids in his community like he was doing, and also all around the world!”