The heart-warming video of a sister engaging former professional boxer Prichard Colon Melendez, strapped on a special medical bed, in a playful shadowboxing, serves as a lucid reminder for everyone how fragile life is, especially for a prizefighter performing in the ring.
Melendez, a Puerto Rican-American, was a bright prospect in professional boxing until he suffered his first loss in the ring in 2015.
He was constantly hit at the back of his head, despite his plea to the referee.
He left the match in the ninth and proceeded to the dugout where he collapsed and remained in a coma for 221 days due to bleeding in the brain.
He slowly recovered but is still in a vegetative state although he’s now responding and improving steadily.
Filipino boxer Renerio Arizala was more fortunate.
The former featherweight contender suffered brain damage after losing to a Japanese foe via 6th-round knockout in Yokohama in 2019.
He collapsed in the dressing room after the loss and fell into a coma for 10 days before undergoing surgery to fix brain blood clotting.
He survived the ordeal and has since retired. He is currently a trainer at one of Elorde’s gyms.
Others were not as lucky.
Local contender Karlo Maquinto died after a hard-fought match in Caloocan that ended in a majority draw.
He collapsed and lost consciousness just after the announcement of the decision and was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was treated but later died due to cardio-respiratory arrest.
In 2013, a teener from Bulacan died after being comatose for days following a loss in a boxing competition at a regional meet for the Palarong Pambansa, a multi-sports competition among elementary and high school students.
He was diagnosed to have suffered from an internal hemorrhage that led to his tragic death.
The following year, boxing was scrapped from the list of events of the Palaro.
The Games and Amusement Board, the government agency in charge of professional boxing regulations, have instituted stricter measures for the safety of the sport.
Oxygen supply is a must beside the ring and the medical team is always on standby.
Trainers and handlers have become more medically scientific in their training methods. Healthy monitoring has become more of a standard procedure.
In spite of all these measures, it remains a fact that boxing as a career path will always be a choice between death and injury. Success comes to only a few.
There have been calls for a total ban on the sport but the opposition prevailed.
Boxing icon and former senator Manny Pacquiao, who started boxing at age 14, said it should not be stopped because it remains to be a source of hope for poor, young aspirants searching for better life and future for their family.
Boxing is here to stay but it will always be a dangerous sport.