Comatose boxer Prichard Colon undergoes spinal surgery in Atlanta

Puerto Rican welterweight Prichard Colon, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during an Oct. 17 fight and has been in a coma since, underwent spinal surgery last week, his family said.

Colon, who was moved in mid-November to Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in treatment for those with brain and spinal cord injuries, had the surgery in order to place a catheter on his spine. It will administer a drug to help loosen his muscles.

"The surgery Prichard had was to help with the spasticity," Richard Colon, Prichard's father, said. "Thank God everything went well. Now we must wait for the awakening of our champion, Prichard. This procedure will help so he can be more relaxed."

Colon (16-1, 13 KOs), a 23-year-old who was a bright prospect, suffered the brain injury during a ninth-round disqualification loss to Terrel Williams, of Los Angeles, in an NBC-televised Premier Boxing Champions card from the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

Colon collapsed in the dressing room shortly after the fight and was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to relieve pressure inside his skull.

"We are grateful to all for such support from Day 1 and the endless prayers," Richard Colon said. "The operation was different to the previous ones, but very necessary ... in his recovery process. His response has been very positive, and we hope good things in the next few days. The prayers and support of all of you, that means a lot to all the family."

In the fight with Williams, Colon took some brutal, illegal punches behind the head, including one that caused a harsh knockdown late in the ninth round. Referee Joe Cooper did not call a foul on that punch, but he did deduct one point from Williams for rabbit punching in the seventh round. He allowed Williams to hit Colon behind the head at other points during the fight without issuing any warnings or taking additional points, even though Colon complained about the fouls.

Colon got to his feet after the knockdown, the second one of the ninth round, and returned to his corner, where his trainers began to cut off his gloves, apparently believing the scheduled 10-round bout had come to an end. When they could not get Colon's gloves back on in time, Cooper disqualified Colon.

Colon walked to the dressing room under his own power but soon after became dizzy, vomited and passed out. He was then rushed to the hospital.