Mexican featherweight Oscar Gonzalez, who suffered a brain injury during a 10th-round knockout loss to Jesus Galicia on Saturday night at the Foro Polanco in Mexico City, died on Monday afternoon as a result of his injuries. He was 23.
"These things happen in boxing and nobody expects them to happen in the ring," Jose "Chepo" Reynoso of Canelo Promotions, which put on the card, told ESPN.com in a statement translated into English. "Even though we weren't there at the fight we know Oscar did receive the best treatment at the hospital before and after his death. Our lawyer, Anuar Alvarado, took care of the situation and we know we did our best on his behalf."
Nicknamed "Fantasma," Gonzalez (23-3, 14 KOs) was the favorite against countryman Galicia (13-7, 8 KOs) but appeared to be well behind on the scorecards going to the 10th round of the scheduled 12-round bout.
It had been a rough fight and Galicia was landing unanswered combinations early in the 10th round and rocking a visibly fading Gonzalez. When Gonzalez tried to clinch Galicia after taking several blows, referee Rafael Saldana broke them apart. As Saldana separated them, Gonzalez began to stagger backwards into the corner post, staying upright only because Saldana caught him.
Saldana appeared to briefly speak to Gonzalez and was ready to restart the fight when Gonzalez, who had steadied himself against the corner post, spit out his mouthpiece and bent over. Saldana then waved off the fight with 1 minute, 55 seconds left in the round and Gonzalez immediately collapsed into Saldana's arms and then to the canvas.
Ringside medical personnel surrounded Gonzalez within moments. He appeared to have a seizure. He was eventually put into a neck brace, given oxygen and removed from the ring on a stretcher in a matter of minutes.
On Monday night, just a few hours after Gonzalez's death, Fox Deportes replayed the fight in its entirety.
Gonzalez, a onetime protégé of legendary Mexican four-division titleholder Erik Morales, suffered a decision loss to Raul Hirales in December 2012 but bounced back with the biggest win of his career in April when he outpointed former junior featherweight world titleholder Rico Ramos on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."
Gonzalez, his career on the rise, then won two more fights in a row before facing Galicia.
Gonzalez spent some 36 hours in intensive care at the Hospital Espanol in Mexico City before being removed from life support because he had no brain activity and had suffered a heart attack.
Gonzalez's wife, Magaly Avalos and his parents, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Luz Teresa Arriaga, as well his brothers and other relatives, were also there. Gonzalez's remains will be transported to his hometown of Tepic, where he will be cremated, according to Canelo Promotions.
Because the fight was for a regional WBC title, Gonzalez's family will receive $50,000 from an insurance policy carried by the organization because it sanctioned the bout.