What Happened To Prichard Colón? Former Boxer Sues After Doctor’s Negligence Left Him With Permanent Brain Damage

Here's everything you need to know about what happened to Prichard Colón.

What Happened To Prichard Colón? Former Boxer Sues After Doctor’s Negligence Left Him With Permanent Brain Damage

During the early days of Prichard Colón’s career, the young Puerto Rican boxer won several fights and established a reputation as a talented and promising young boxer. However, due to the unfortunate events that occurred during a fight in 2015, Prichard Colón’s life changed forever.

In 2015, the world of boxing was electrified with the arrival of Prichard Colón, a young Puerto Rican fighter whose meteoric rise in the sport promised glory and championships. With dreams of becoming a boxing legend, Colón entered the ring just like he had done countless times before.

The two boxers traded blows but it was the ringside doctor’s failure to intervene that would ultimately seal Colón’s fate. Despite the increasing brutality of the fight, the doctor failed to step in and protect the young fighter from the relentless onslaught. Prichard Colón suffered devastating head injuries and internal bleeding and the trajectory of his life would change forever.

Now the parents are suing the ringside doctor for $50 million USD (~$78 million AUD) for failing to protect their son; here’s everything you need to know about what happened to Prichard Colón.

How did Pritchard Colón get into boxing?

Pritchard Colón was born in Maitland, Florida to Richard and Nieves Colon. Nieves worked as a waitress while Richard was a soldier and former boxer who trained with Felix Trinidad’s dad. 

As an elementary school boy growing up in Central Florida, Pritchard told his mother that he wanted to be a boxer when he grew up. In an interview with ESPN, Nieves Colon said: “He always knew what he wanted in life… he’d say, ‘Mommy, I want to be a professional boxer, and I want to represent Puerto Rico, and I want to be a world champion.”

Image: Getty

Richard set up a makeshift boxing gym in their garage and started schooling his 8-year-old son in the sweet science. Soon after, father and son felt that Pritchard had the skill and will to fulfil his dreams. Together with Pritchard’s sister Natalie, the three left the U.S. to move to Puerto Rico so Pritchard could focus on training and representing his parents’ native land in international boxing competitions.

Pritchard started his boxing career at the El Albergue training centre in Salinas, Puerto Rico. As an amateur, he won five national championships and represented Puerto Rico in the 2010 Pan-American Youth Championships, winning the gold medal in the 64 kg weight class.

He also tried to qualify for the 2012 Olympics but lost to a Venezuelan fighter at the Brazil Pre-Olympics. After that setback, the 20-year-old Pritchard decided to turn professional.

Did Pritchard Colón win any early fights?

Pritchard Colón made his professional debut against Xavier La Salle on February 23, 2013, at a boxing event at the Cosme Beitía Salamo Coliseum in Catano, Puerto Rico. Colón made a strong impression by knocking out La Salle after a mere 25 seconds.

Colón fought three more times that year and he had a busy 2014 with seven total bouts. Pritchard would win his first 10 fights via stoppage and entered his big assignment against former world champion Vivian Harris with an impressive 15-0 record with 12 wins by way of knockout.

On September 9, 2015, Colón knocked out Harris in round four of a six-rounder that was among the undercard bouts in the Adonis Stevenson vs. Tom Karpency boxing event at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto Ontario, Canada. Speaking with boxingscene.com, Colon was excited about the win: “I think that based on the name that it holds and it being my first ex-world champ that it is the best KO of my career so far.”

Was Pritchard Colón supposed to be any good?

Considering his amateur boxing background, Pritchard Colón was considered one of the best prospects in the sport. Upon turning pro, he won his first 16 bouts although boxing pundits agree that he took advantage of low to mediocre opposition to breeze through his first 15 assignments. But with 13 knockouts in 16 wins, there was no doubt that Pritchard Colón packed power in his punches.

Although Colón’s critics belittled his boxing resume, he did pass his biggest test when he disposed of Harris inside four rounds. Harris wasn’t just the most experienced boxer that Colón had ever faced, the American was a former world champion too.

Harris was one of the most promising fighters in the sport when he became the WBA junior welterweight champion by knocking out Cuban-Spanish boxing star Diosbelys Hurtado in two rounds in 2002. But since losing the belt three years later Harris was never the same fighter again. Despite that, Harris’ experience and style were thought to give Colón some issues. 

But Pritchard just ran over Harris, outboxing his more experienced opponents while landing plenty of big blows. In round 4, Colon unloaded a barrage of punches that put Harris down for good:

After beating Harris, Pritchard was already looking ahead at a big 2016 with the possibility of fighting for a world title on the horizon. However, one month after the fight, Colón’s camp got a call to fill in a slot in a boxing event in Virginia. At that time, Andre Dirrell pulled out of his fight against Blake Caparello due to medical reasons. Colón’ was booked to fight Terrel Williams in the event held on October 17, 2015

What happened to Pritchard Colon in 2015 with Terrel Williams?

Like Pritchard Colón, Terrel Williams entered their bout as an undefeated 147-pound fighter.

Early on, Colón used his superior size to dominate the fight. Using his entire 6-foot frame, he connected with long-range punches and well-timed counters every time Williams tried to get inside the distance.

But after four rounds, Williams’ relentless pressure began to pay off as momentum began to change. Colon got deducted two points after he floored Williams with a low blow that referee Joe Cooper declared intentional. From that point on, Colon was never the same with Williams taking control.

Image: Getty

In the seventh round, it was Williams’ turn to get called for a foul for punching at the back of the head. After Colón took the five minutes to recover, he seemed to have found his second wind. However, Williams dropped Colón twice in the 9th round. After the bell sounded to end the round, Colón’s corner removed his gloves saying they thought that the fight was over.

Whether the corner was really confused or merely buying time for Colón to recover, the Virginia Boxing Commission instructed referee Cooper to disqualify Colon for refusing to answer the bell. 

As he left the ring, Colón told his mother that he felt dizzy and that he could not see. As they neared the locker room, his legs began to weaken and when they got there, Pritchard threw up, collapsed, and lost consciousness.

At the hospital, Colón was diagnosed with a left-sided subdural hematoma measuring 1.5 cm in diameter with 1.2 cm of midline shift. Surgery was performed to decrease the swelling and pressure on the skull. But as a result, Pritchard went into a coma for 221 days.

Today, Colón’s speech has not returned although he can communicate using a computer. However, he is now responsive and is undergoing physical therapy.

Why did Pritchard Colon’s parents sue the ringside doctor?

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, Colón’s parents filed 2017 a $50 million USD (~$78 million AUD) lawsuit against the ringside doctor and the promoters of the October 15, 2015 boxing event. 

The complaint, which they filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, accused Dr. Richard Ashby of medical malpractice for failing to identify red flags when Pritchard complained to him that the back of his head hurt.

They also claim that Ashby should have stopped the bout in the seventh round when he checked on Colon after Williams was deducted a point for intentional blows to the back of the head.

During that conversation, Colón reportedly told Ashby that he was dizzy and began feeling pain at the back of his head after he was floored by a rabbit punch from Williams. The lawsuit included promoters HeadBangers Boxing and DiBella Entertainment for failing to provide a competent ring physician for the event.

Image: The Washington Post

Unfortunately, the case has moved very little since it was filed in court. In 2020, a judge ruled that the case must proceed in Washington D.C. where the fight took place. However, since then, there has been no update and the lawsuit has not moved to trial.

Meanwhile, Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation conducted its own investigation of the incident and concluded that while what happened to Colón was tragic, “there was no one action so apparent and or egregious to justify laying blame to any one person.”

What happened to Terrell Williams?

Although Terrel Williams carried an undefeated record after the Pritchard Colón bout, he did not fight until 25 months after the incident.

Overall, he’s fought only four times since then and has been inactive since 2019. Williams knocked out Rosemberg Gomez in November 2017 and won a unanimous decision against David Grayton in September of the following year. He then took a split decision from Justin DeLoach in April 2019 and lost via unanimous decision to Thomas Dulorme in September 2019.

I honestly never wanted to fight again after that fight.

Terrel Williams

The loss to Dulorme was the first in Williams’ career but it may be unlikely that we will see him fight again. Williams has been scarce to the media and the public since the Colon incident. Although he never officially announced his retirement, that might have been it for Terrel Williams’ boxing career as he has been inactive for four years and is now 39 years old.

Two years after the incident, he spoke with The Ring and his words may give us an idea of why he has been reclusive to the public and inactive in the sport.

Image: Premier Boxing Champions

“I pray for Prichard every day,” said Williams. “That’s never going to change. I wish him nothing but peace and health. No one wants what happened to Prichard to happen to anybody. All boxers are brothers. I would never intentionally harm someone like that.”

“But there has been a lot of malicious stuff that’s being said about me, especially from the Colon family. If that is how they’re going to cope with it and it helps them heal, then that’s what it is. I’m still healing too.”

“I’ll be healing for the rest of my life. I honestly never wanted to fight again after that fight. I understand and I know I didn’t do anything wrong that night. Prichard was a young man with a bright future, who was going to contribute good things to the world. That’s been hard on me.”