Lamon Brewster, who lost his version of the heavyweight title in a slugfest against Sergei Liakhovich last Saturday night, suffered a detached retina in his left eye during the first round and underwent surgery to repair it Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, Brewster told ESPN.com.
Brewster said the injury happened in the opening seconds of the fight when Liakhovich caught him with a jab directly in the eye.
"I went blind in my left eye for the duration of the fight," Brewster said. "I couldn't see anything on my left side. Everything was just like a yellow blur. It looked like a painting."
Brewster (33-3, 29 KOs) had won nine consecutive fights, including eight by knockout, when he faced Liakhovich in his fourth title defense.
The fight featured ferocious two-way action, and Brewster scored a knockdown in the seventh round. But he also took a great deal of punishment en route to a unanimous decision loss in the leading fight of the year candidate.
"Not bad for a man with one eye, is it," said Brewster, who said the surgery took four hours.
He said his eye is now bandaged but that doctors told him the injury shouldn't end his career.
"They told me I should make a full recovery," Brewster said. "They told me my eye will be better as long as I listen to doctor's orders. They said I need to just rest it for 60 days. They said I can't do anything to strain the eye. Don't do any reading or anything strenuous. But I can watch TV. It will just take time to heal."
When he first heard the diagnosis, Brewster said, "I was scared to death. I was very afraid. I didn't know if my career was over or not. But the doctor explained everything, the do's and don'ts, and told me eventually my eye will be better and stronger after the surgery."
Trainer Buddy McGirt, working with Brewster for the time, said he knew there was a problem after the first round.
"I knew he was having a problem with the left eye and that he couldn't really see out of it," McGirt said. "After the first round, he said to me that he couldn't see. But we didn't say too much because we didn't want the television mics to pick it up. But I'll tell you this: Lamon is a great warrior. He showed his heart and he showed what boxing is all about."
Brewster said without the handicap of the injury, he believes he would have knocked out Liakhovich, who he hurt several times.
"There were so many times in the fight I could have finished him but I couldn't see on the left side of my body and I couldn't see his punches coming, so I was very apprehensive," he said.
"I did the best I could under the circumstances. I gave it my all. I am just looking forward to getting healthy. I didn't get a chance to show that I am the best heavyweight in the world, all because of the eye," he said.
Brewster flew from Cleveland, where the fight was held, back to Los Angeles after the fight and he said his vision improved only slightly.
"It got a little better to where I could make out shapes and objects, but I have been unable to see detail since the fight," he said.
Brewster, who had a rematch clause in the contract, said he wants one as soon as his eye heals.
"Absolutely, I want a rematch," Brewster said. "He can't run away, unless he wants a lawsuit."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.