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Gone Too Soon: Karlo Maquinto 6-0 1990-2012

By R.R. Mazon

KARLO MAQUINTO 6-0-1 ( 4 KO’s)
JULY 8, 1990 – FEBRUARY 3, 2012

Karlo Maquinto’s fight did not end last Saturday after eight grueling rounds. He fought and fought for seven straight days after suffering fatal injury in the ring in that bout. He fought even if prognosis of recovery was poor right from the start. He fought even if he was pronounced clinically dead by his doctors yesterday. He fought even when his heart stopped this morning in a hospital in Manila. Karlo never stopped fighting, he never gave up , not until the very end.

Karlo was knocked down twice in the first round of his boxing match last Saturday in Calooan City. The type of knockdown that would have kept a regular fighter down for the count. But not Karlo. He got up , not once but twice and came back fighting. He jabbed, boxed and hooked not for another round or two. He fought for seven more rounds. Eight rounds of exhausting, taxing and fatal battle of boxing. The Ilonggo warrior never backed down, never gave up, never surrendered. He finished the fight on his feet and even with the two knockdowns, he was able to managed to pull out a draw against his opponent and kept his winning record intact. A boxing writer friend of mine even had him winning in his unofficial cards.
In his fifth fight of his young career in Cavite , Karlo was also knocked down in the very first round. But just like last Saturday, he stood up and came back fighting. He won that fight by the way of a third round TKO. This is how determined Karlo is as a fighter. He never gives up. Even with the knockdowns, he finds a way to get back on his feet and fight back. Karlo fights with intensity and passion., one that earned him the loudest cheer in that local event in Manila last Saturday. One that will eventually cost his life a week after.

Karlo was diagnosed with subdural hematoma upon his admission to the hospital. It is in layman’s term , a bleeding in his brain which is most likely caused by the blows he received in the head in that opening round. And because he fought on or was allowed to fight on after those blows, he accumulated additional trauma to his head. Those accumulation of blows is what likely made the injury worse for Karlo. It is in the opinion of this writer upon consultation with physicians that I worked with here in New Jersey that he should have been checked more thoroughly after those knockdowns. He should have been assessed by his corner and the ringside physician immediately after he suffered those hard blows. I asked someone present in the fight if the ringside physician assessed him after the first round ended and he told me no. Karlo would have experienced changes in his orientation and sensorium as the fight went the distance. It should have been stopped immediately if he exhibited changes in his normal level of consciousness. One that could not only have saved his career but his life as well.

Karlo fought a brave fight last Saturday. Even with bleeding in his brain, he managed to put up the night’s most exciting fight. Even with increasing pressure inside his head, the brave young fighter got up round after round to do his job in the ring. And when they announced the result of the fight, Karlo just cannot take it anymore. He collapsed right then and there, after giving the audience one heck of a fight. Like a doctor or a nurse finishing his shift. Like a soldier finishing his tour of duty. The warrior child finished his job despite a serious injury developing inside of him. And in the end, he just laid there in the canvass after a job well done as his corner and emergency personnel scampered to assist him.

This brings me to another issue regarding this matter. The paramedics or a semblance of it that responded to Karlo is clearly untrained to perform their jobs. There is a noticeable absence of basic emergency equipments on that day. They have no Oxygen tank on stand by to help deliver oxygen to an injured victim of trauma or head injury. They have no spinal board which is needed to provide rigid support in transporting patients with suspected spinal or limb injury. There is no cervical collar or neck brace which is used to support a patient’s neck and head following injury to the head and spine. None of these very basic tools of the trade. Karlo was dragged from the canvass to a waiting stretcher outside of the ring. A gesture unbefitting this warrior of the ring.

Karlo fought and fought for seven days against the pangs of death. He jabbed, boxed and hooked until he finally gave up this morning in Manila. The young warrior threw his last punch at 10:15 am Friday. A heart breaking ending to a life that is full of promise in and out of the ring. One that will put a dark cloud on the sport of boxing and the history of Philippine sports as well. It is the hope of this writer that his death will not be in vain and not just be regarded as a tragic statistic of the sport. May it open the eyes of the Games and Amusement Boards and the various promoters of the sport of the need to instill changes in the way things are done in the present. May there be more trained doctors who will keep a close eye on each and every fighter in each and every round, in each and every fight of a certain event in the country. May there be a better way of responding to emergencies in the ring not like the manner it was done last week. If we aim to be a place where big world title bouts are to be held , all of this is paramount to it. The dangers the sport presents can be lessened with proper assessment before and during a fight , with the properly trained and equipped medical personnel at ringside and prompt, and appropriate response when an emergency occurs.
Karlo you’re bravery is befitting not only of a true warrior but of a Filipino. Your courage and determination exemplifies the many like you who dream of a better future for themselves and their family in a dangerous endeavor. Your never surrender attitude is an inspiration to your peers and to the people who watch you perform your job. Your bravery and valor especially during your darkest hour is an eye opener for those of us who takes the danger of this sport for granted. You may not have lived your life long enough to achieve what every boxer dreams for, to win a world title. But in our eyes, you are a CHAMP.

May the good Lord guide you in your final ring entrance. A ring where you will share it with the greatest of them all, our creator and God. There is no more need to fight Karlo, there is no more need to fight. REST IN PEACE KARLO. REST IN PEACE CHAMP!

“Born to amuse , to inspire, to delight

Here one day

Gone one night.
Like a sunset dying

With the rising of the moon,

Gone too soon. ”

– From the song Gone too soon , performed by Michael Jackson, written and composed by Larry Grossman

and Buzz Kohan,
You can reach the author at [email protected] for any reactions to this piece.

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