Sunday, March 11, 2001

Boxer in critical condition after N.Ky. fight

Ex-champ Greg Page, 42, collapsed in ring

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Former WBA heavyweight champion Greg Page, touted in his heyday as the next Muhammad Ali, was in critical condition at University Hospital on Saturday after collapsing during a match in Erlanger.

        A witness told the Enquirer that the 42-year-old Louisville native backed up against the ropes just three minutes into the 10th round at Peel's Palace late Friday and fell to the mat after being pushed by contender Dale Crowe, an Alexandria man barely half his age.

  Feb. 16, 1979: Wins his first pro fight against Don Martin in Louisville with a technical knockout in the second round.
  Dec. 1, 1984: Named WBA heavyweight champion after knocking out Gerrie Coetzee in the eighth round.
  April 29, 1985: Loses the world title to Cincinnati's Tony Tubbs in 15 rounds.
  Aug. 6, 1993: Leaves boxing for nearly three years after being knocked out in the ninth round by Bruce Seldon.
  May 16, 1996: Resumes his boxing career, mainly against no-names, but wins all four matches with TKOs in the first round.
  Oct. 9, 2000: Wins with a first-round TKO against Mark Bradley of Evansville, Ind.
  March 9, 2001: Collapses in the 10th round against Norwood native Dale Crowe during a fight in Erlanger.
        News sources reported that Mr. Page underwent brain surgery early Saturday for a head injury sustained in the fight. However, University Hospital spokeswoman Pat Samson declined to discuss details of his medical condition at the request of Mr. Page's relatives.

        Kentucky Athletic Commission Chairman Jack Kerns, who was ringside and called for a life squad for Mr. Page, said he did not know what caused the boxer to collapse in what was his first fight of the year.

        Both men had taken a beating during the match for the heavyweight championship of Kentucky, he said.

        “Both of them took good punches in the body and in the head. They were really hitting each other pretty good. It was a good fight, but Crowe was dominating it,” Mr. Kerns said Saturday from his home in Park Hills.

        Neither Mr. Crowe nor the fight's promoter, Terry O'Brien of Covington, could be reached for comment.

        Guy McFadden, who manages Peel's Palace, described the bout as a war.

        “(Mr. Page) went 10 rounds in a war with a very young and very in-shape Dale Crowe. He did not back down. Mr. Page has the heart of a champion and he fought like a champion. He did not roll over. He was a warrior,” Mr. McFadden said.

        He said he did not see what happened immediately before Mr. Page's collapse, and was shocked to hear of his condition Saturday.

        Mr. Page backed into the ropes and sat down against them after Mr. Crowe gave him an “easy push” to the chest, Mr. Kerns said. The referee called the match after Mr. Page was unable to stand up and lay on his side, he said.

        “The (ringside) doctor checked him and thought he was all right. I called the life squad. When somebody's down like that it's better to be safe,” Mr. Kerns said.

        Mr. Page was first taken to St. Luke Hospital West in Florence about 11:30 p.m. Friday and transferred about 90 minutes later to University.

        Mr. Kerns, whose job it was to approve all matches, said he was not concerned that Mr. Page is 18 years older than Mr. Crowe.

        Mr. Page's record showed that he could handle himself in the ring. In a fight in October in Louisville, Mr. Page won with a first-round technical knockout against an Evansville, Ind., man about Mr. Crowe's age. In 75 professional fights, he has won 58 fights, 48 by knockout.

        “I OK'd the fight. Greg Page was the ex-heavyweight champion of the world,” Mr. Kerns said.

        Mr. Page won the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship by knocking out Gerrie Coetzee in the eighth round on Dec. 1, 1984, five years after he turned pro. He lost the title five months later to Cincinnati's Tony Tubbs.

        He never fought for the title again. After a three-year break, he returned to boxing in 1996, competing against no-name opponents.


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