24-year-old boxer Benjamin Flores passed away on Tuesday after collapsing following a fight at a charity event in Dallas last week. Flores lost in his bid for the NABF’s super bantamweight title against Al Seeger. The referee stopped the fight at 2:10 of the eighth round, but Flores collapsed soon after and never regained consciousness. The Mexico native was 19-4 in his all-too-brief professional career.
His death has devastated the boxing community in Texas and Mexico, as well as his family. Flores’ 16-year-old brother, Miguel, is an aspiring boxer in his own right who looked up to Benjamin and dreamed of one day fighting on the same card. After this, Miguel had every reason to give up on boxing. But not only is he continuing to box, he’s vowed to win a world championship in his brother’s honor.
The HOUSTON CHRONICLE says that Miguel has fought in over 100 amateur bouts and plans to turn pro soon after his 17th birthday:
“I will win the world title for my brother,” he said. “Any sport has risks, you know. It’s part of life. Everywhere you go, you take a risk.”
He’s right, in some respects. Risks are everywhere, but they’re a bit more inherent in sports like boxing and auto racing than, say, bowling.
According to EASTSIDEBOXING.COM, some thought that referee Laurence Cole actually acted prematurely in stopping the fight that led to Benjamin’s death. But Cole had noticed that Flores was having difficulty in responding to Seeger’s attack in the eighth round and stopped the fight:
Cole then astutely noted that something unusual was wrong and held Flores up until a stool could be place under him. Flores was unable to sit upright under his own power and asked those around him to allow him to lie down. In an all-too-familiar scenario, he then lost consciousness. He was quickly given oxygen, placed on a stretcher, and rushed to Parkland Hospital where he underwent surgery for swelling on his brain.
While Cole’s actions ultimately weren’t enough to save Flores, it seems that the ref should be commended for noticing that something was wrong and trying to take actions.
The same story has a quote from Flores’ father that is heartbreaking to read now:
“After, when he’s 30 years old, when his career’s over, I don’t want him to have any scars or anything like that. I want him to be like when God brought him to the earth,” says Miguel, through an interpreter. “That’s why I push him so hard. “This [boxing] is not a joke. This is serious — that’s why I push so hard, so that won’t happen. Yeah, I’m worried about my son forgetting things or having mental problems because of those kind of injuries”
The younger Miguel will certainly face some resistance from his father about pursuing the career that took his brother’s life, but he seems committed to carrying on in Benjamin’s honor.