BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The father of light welterweight boxer Nick Casal considers his son lucky to be alive after sustaining several deep cuts to his head in an attack last weekend.
Calling his son "blessed," Ray Casal told The Associated Press by phone on Monday that Nick is conscious while recovering at a Buffalo hospital. The most recent tests conducted earlier in the day showed no signs of brain damage, and doctors expect him to make a complete recovery, the father said.
"It's miraculous actually. Even the doctor was shocked," Casal said. "For him to come out of it with no problems, it's unheard of."
The attack occurred Saturday morning in the town of Niagara, said police, without revealing other details because the investigation continues.
Casal said his son lost a large amount of blood, and that it took doctors three hours to close several gashes on the side and back of his head. His son's tooth was chipped and one arm severely swollen but not broken after he was struck at least 15 times across the head and body with what the father described to be a light metal object.
Despite the severity and depth of the cuts, tests also showed Casal's skull was not fractured.
The injuries forced the cancellation of a fight between Casal (22-4-1) and Ruslan Provodnikov (21-1-0) for the World Boxing Organization's intercontinental title at a Niagara Falls casino next month. Because it was the main event, the entire card has been canceled.
Casal said police have statements from at least three witnesses, and have already interviewed his son.
Casal said the attack occurred at around 4:30 a.m., when his son went to meet his girlfriend at the home of her ex-boyfriend. From what Casal said his son can recollect, he and his girlfriend were leaving when he was attacked from behind.
"Nick started walking with her to the car, and all of a sudden he said, 'Her eyes got real big,' and he got hit, boom," Ray Casal said.
Casal then turned to hit his attacker, before being struck numerous times with such force that it knocked him to the ground, the father said. Casal, however, managed to get up, which his father said might have spooked the attacker, who then ran off.
What followed next was more disturbing to the father, who said rather than taking his bloodied and bruised son to the hospital, the bystanders instead took him home and left him there alone.
It wasn't until around 9 a.m., when Ray Casal learned of what happened. That's when he got a call from a friend, who had been contacted by one of the bystanders regarding the attack.
Casal's wife and a friend went to the son's apartment to find him unconscious on the bed. That's when they called an ambulance. Remarkably, Casal said his son woke up while being rushed to the hospital.
"He's a lucky man. He's blessed," Casal said. "He could've died twice that night, but he didn't."
Casal elected not to go to his son's home.
"It you want to know the truth, I thought the worst," Casal said. "With those severe wounds, with the bleeding, the way my friend talked, it sounded like it was bad."
Casal said it's unlikely Nick will stop boxing because of this. But he added, he'll leave that decision up to him. Should he decide to continue, Casal would have to pass numerous tests to be cleared to fight by state boxing officials.
All of that can wait.
"As his father, I don't care whether he boxes ever again or not," Ray Casal said. "He's alive. Thank God for that."