The Blog

Caring for the Knocked-out Boxer: Alvarez-Khan

It is pleasing to note that since my last blog entry, Nick Blackwell looks to be making a good recovery. He will not box again but the sport will hopefully be able to offer him another career path.

In the early hours of Saturday morning UK time, Amir Khan got into the ring with Saul Alvarez. Few gave Khan a chance. Not because of limitations on his part but because of the considerable talent the Mexican possesses. I like Khan as a fighter, not simply because we share the same home town but I enjoy the quick hands and movement that his style provides. The limitation is his tendency to get caught, and caught he was. After a encouraging performance in the earlier rounds, Alvarez unleashed the overhand right to bring a premature conclusion.

From a medical perspective, the key is what happened next. Khan on the television footage appeared to be out before he hit the floor. The referee may not get the same view but he made a decision after about five seconds to wave the fight off. His count did not reach ten. Within seconds of that, a medical team was in place to attend to the stricken Khan. There was no hangers on in the ring getting in the way or any other factors delaying the medical teams attendance. Boxing in the past has had to learn a hard lesson that one of the most crucial elements of protecting boxers is that immediate medical care.

Ringside care is trauma medicine. In trauma medicine, speed is the key. For years the Golden hour was referred to as the most crucial in obtaining a positive outcome for the victim. More recently, the notion of a "platinum ten minutes" has arisen indicating it is the first ten minutes that is of greatest significance. Whatever the debate over the time period, the quick action of medical teams at ringside (as it was with the Blackwell vs Eubank fight) is imperative wherever boxing takes place in the world.

Amir Khan is fine but he could easily not have been and a transfer to a specialist neurology unit would have been the next move if the team had deemed it necessary.

In a much criticised sport, the last word should be left to Alvarez whose first concern was not celebrating his victory but with his opponent. His conduct in the ring was exemplary and should be noted by other boxers and indeed, participants in other sports.