A segment of the latest episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, “The Fighter”, sheds light on a tragic event in boxing.
Patrick Day was a bright light.
The Freeport, Long Island native came from a Cosby Show family. Father a doctor and a mother who was a bilingual translator for the United Nations.
His three older brothers were all college graduates and Patrick was a chip off the block. A straight-A student who garnered the nickname “Straight A Day” as an exemplar to his peers.
But Patrick loved boxing. It was a love birthed through the access gained by his neighbor Joe Higgins’s home gym. That love, however, would turn tragic.
“A day doesn’t go by I don’t think about it, because it happened on my watch,” said Higgins a former firefighter.
— Charles Conwell (@CharlesConwell) October 13, 2019
On October 16, 2019, Patrick Day, by then a professional fighter, lost a bout against Charles Conwell and also his life.
It is an ending everyone fears in pugilism but doubts will happen. Especially to someone like Patrick Day.
Day won the New York Golden Gloves tournament in 2012. It is the pinnacle of amateur boxing next to the Olympics and Day stood at the top of the mountain.
His amateur record was 75-5, including two national amateur championships. He was recognized as the number-one ranked boxer in the United States in the 152-pound amateur division, and served as a 2012 United States Olympic team alternate.
After racing up 5 straight wins, Day lost to Carlos Adames in June 2019 for the NABF and WBO-NABO super welterweight titles. His next fight in Chicago would be his last and after being knocked down twice, brutally in the eighth, Patrick dominated the ninth round like the champion he was.
Tragically, in the 10th and final round, Day was put down and never got off the canvas. He experienced a traumatic brain injury and four days later in a Chicago hospital, he passed away.
Conwell was devastated and wrote an open letter to Day:
“I see you everywhere you go and all I hear is wonderful things about you. I thought about quitting boxing, but I know that’s not what you would want.
“I know that you were a fighter at heart so I decided not to, and to fight and win a world title because that’s what you wanted and that’s what I want so I will use you as motivation every day and make sure I leave it all in the ring every time.”
Day’s mother never wanted him to be a boxer. She feared the ills of the blood sport. Day wanted to be a fighter, to taste glory and make his family proud.
He did that. Unfortunately, his story was not able to continue. In light of the tragedies that have happened to sports figures, this is a hard pill to swallow but one that must be digested.
What is the cost of passion? What will you give to live your dream and was it all worth it in the end?
Tonight’s episode of Real Sports delves into a topic that is hard to understand but must be relived.