By Robert Cassidy, News Day
Patrick Day is almost too nice of a guy to be a fighter. Known just as much for his smile as his ample boxing skills, Day is “fighting for his life” in a Chicago hospital after suffering a brutal 10th-round knockout on Saturday at Wintrust Arena.
“Patrick’s condition is extremely grave,” said his trainer Joe Higgins, via text message from Chicago. “He is fighting for his life. That’s all we can really say right now.”
Day, 27, was knocked out by a combination of punches from Charles Conwell in the 10th and final round of their USBA super welterweight title fight. Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian who is 11-0 as a pro, has been active on social media, imploring the boxing world to pray for Day.
“Patrick Day suffered a traumatic brain injury during his bout on Saturday night,” Day’s promoter, Lou Di Bella, said in a statement on Sunday evening. “He was rushed to Northwestern Memorial hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. As of Sunday evening, Patrick is in a coma caused by the injury and is in extremely critical condition. On behalf of Patrick’s team, we appreciate the outpouring of support, prayers, and offers of assistance from all corners of the boxing community.”
Much of the Long Island boxing community is in shock.
“This is devastating news, I still can’t really believe it,” said Tyrone James, 28, who was one of Day’s sparring partners for the fight. “He’s a phenomenal person. He’s a great friend. He always has a smile on his face. He could light up the darkest room. We’ve been sparring together since he’s about 15.”
Tommy Rainone, a Farmingdale welterweight, saw Day after his final sparring session. He told Day to “take care of business” and gave him tips on where to find good pizza in Chicago.
“I feel empty right now, I’m in shock,” Rainone said. “I can’t get this out of my mind. Pat is as humble as they come. He’s just a good guy to be around. He always has such positive energy.”
Chris Algieri, Long Island’s former WBO junior welterweight champion, had sparred with Day many times.
“I’m sick over it,” Algieri said. “I’ve known Patrick since he was a teenage amateur training at the Freeport PAL. Patrick grew into a very disciplined and gritty professional. Whether in the gym or in the ring you could always expect 100% effort out of Pat. . . and at the end of it all, a smile. One of the true nice guys in the sport who stood out as a consummate gentleman warrior.”
Higgins built a powerhouse boxing gym inside the squat brick building in Freeport’s Northeast Park. Seanie Monaghan, who sparred often with Day, was a world-ranked light heavyweight until his recent retirement. Day was a New York Golden Gloves champ and an alternate on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. And James is 11-0 as a pro with eight knockouts.
“This hurts,” James said. “I know how strong he is. I know he’s doing everything he can to pull through. He’s never quit at anything before.”
This article originally appeared in News Day.