Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Boxer Page still listed critical

'Everything seemed in order,' at Erlanger bout

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Former WBA heavyweight champion Greg Page remained in critical condition Monday at University Hospital, where he was taken Friday night after being knocked out by Dale Crowe in a bout at Peel's Palace in Erlanger, Ky.

        Page's family asked hospital officials not to elaborate on his condition, but said they may have more to say today. Terry O'Brien, who promoted the matches, said Page had brain surgery Friday night to remove a blood clot.

        “Everybody is praying for him,” O'Brien said.

        O'Brien denied a published report that said the padding in the ring at Peel's Palace was insufficient.

        “We've been using that ring for 20 years — it's a good ring,” O'Brien said. “And, actually, his head never hit the floor. He was hit by a short left hand ... (then) backed against the ropes and then sat straight down, like he was just worn out.”

        O'Brien said the short left was an “all right” punch, “nothing special,” certainly not one that would appear capable of a knockout.

        Page, a Louisville native, is 42 years old. His opponent, who lives in Alexandria, Ky., is 24 — but O'Brien noted that George Foreman was 47 years old when he won a heavyweight title and knocked out a 28-year-old foe.

        The Kentucky Athletic Commission approved the bout in advance. KAC chairman Jack Kerns, of Park Hills, told The Enquirer on Saturday it was a good fight, but that Crowe dominated it. Monday, Kerns referred questions to offi cials in Frankfort.

        O'Brien said one thing that is difficult to determine is how much damage an older fighter may have absorbed in past bouts. The best judges of that are a boxer's handlers — those who have been in his corner.

        James Doolin, Page's trainer and adviser, told the Louisville Courier-Journal Sunday that Page is “battling for his life, so I'm asking everybody to pray for him.” He declined further comment “on advice from attorneys.”

        Erlanger Police Chief Greg Sandel said that based upon what he knows of the boxing match and injury, there is “no reason to think there's been a violation of the law.”

        “Everything seemed in order in terms of the contracts for the fight, the way it was administered (and) all the licenses were there,” he said.

        There was a physician at ringside, as required by law. There was not a lifesquad standing by, but Kentucky law doesn't require it for a boxing match.

        O'Brien said it took “15 or 20 minutes” for a lifesquad to respond. But Lt. Todd Schulkers, of Erlanger Fire and EMS Department, said the call came in at 11:10 p.m. and the two-person crew arrived at 11:13 p.m. The crew had to work its way through the fight crowd. Schulkers doesn't know how long that may have taken, but couldn't envision it taking much more time.

        Page was unconscious when the crew arrived, was deemed a “critical load and go” and taken to the nearest hospital (St. Luke West) and then to University, where surgery was performed.

        Paramedics from Transcare of Kentucky, a private contractor that is part of Erlanger's two-tiered system, arrived on the scene even before Erlanger's two-person crew did, Schulkers said.

        It is not known whether a lifesquad on scene would have made any difference in Page's condition.


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