Tonight, while some of you tuck into an hot cross bun watching the finale of the Night Manager, spare a thought for Nick Blackwell, who is in an induced coma following last night’s middleweight title bout with Chris Eubank Jr.
The 25-year old was rushed to hospital after the fight and it’s been confirmed that he has suffered bleeding to the brain.
This proves just how far Boxing has come in the last 25 years by the way medics were able to get him checked quickly.
But more importantly, shows how far away the sport actually is from making sure boxers are safe once they don the gloves and enter the ring.
Of course going into this profession means you are going to take some pretty hard knocks, suffer a broken nose, cracked ribs, bruising and cuts to the face, but these are all injuries you can recover from.
In Blackwell’s case, a serious head injury could have more effects in the long term than in the short. Is boxing really worth that risk of long term damage?
Brain injury association Headway questions whether the sport is actually doing enough to preserve it’s talented individuals.
Chief executive Peter McCabe told BBC Sport: “At a time when responsible sports are rightly taking action to improve their concussion protocols to ensure participants are properly cared for when accidental collisions occur, it seems perverse that greater attention is not placed on so-called sports in which participants are rewarded for rendering their opponents senseless by targeting the head and causing damage to the brain.”
It’s hard to disagree. Everyone who watched the fight last night saw Eubank Jr utterly dominate Blackwell. He bloodied him after three rounds and then hit him with severe hard blowing shots in the seventh.
It was clear that the former Middleweight champion was struggling, yet the referee allowed the fight kept going until the tenth!
Did someone finally wake up and notice that if the fight continued we may have witnessed something far more tragic?
There is a video on the Daily Mail website, showing Eubank sr tell his son to stop hitting his opponent during last night’s fight.
He told his son to aim for the body because he knew Blackwell was getting hurt, but also questioned why the referee hadn’t stopped the fight earlier.
Apparently, Blackwell being in a coma is just normal procedure so that the swelling can go down, but I think it’s fair to say that no one wants to be in that position.
We all dream about being World Champion. No matter what sport we take part in. But this is a place we could also find ourselves if things go wrong.
I wonder how Eubank Jr has felt for the past 24 hours. He may be Middleweight champion, but like his father before him, he has reduced someone to needing hospital treatment. This is professional sport, not some fight to the death during the Roman Empire!
Boxing needs to look into this in more depth if it is to promote itself to the youngsters and move forward altogether.
Head guards are worn at the Olympics to stop such injury from occurring, and although it’s not the prettiest thing to be wearing, it at least offers some form of protection.
A more drastic move would be to stop over the shoulder shots altogether, but again, it would protect boxers from the possibility of long-term mental damage.
Rocky may just be a movie franchise, but the way things are going ,we may see an Apollo Creed v Ivan Drago moment, something no one involved with the sport wants to see.