Edmonton fighter’s death highlights risks, patchwork rules of the ring – Canada

Up to a point, there was nothing extraordinary about last Friday’s boxing match between heavyweights Tim Hague and Adam Braidwood at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

It was the kind of bout that regularly populates weekend fight cards in the boxing world. Braidwood entered with a more impressive 7-1 record compared to Hague’s 1-2 mark. But Hague had also contested dozens of bouts as a mixed-martial fighter.

While boxing and MMA operate under entirely different rules, there was no reason to think the seasoned Hague would automatically fold at the hands of an incessant opponent.

While it was clear Braidwood would be favoured, he is not a natural star in boxing. The former top pick in the CFL draft only took up a pro boxing in earnest in 2015, after his career with the Edmonton Eskimos was finished.

“I actually didn’t think on paper it was an egregious fight to have been made; it just turned out to be once it started,” said Corey Erdman, a boxing journalist and consultant for Showtime Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions.

There was no glaring skill difference for the first minute. But Braidwood would then knock Hague to the canvas, and the outcome was never in doubt again. By the end of the first round, Hague had been officially knocked down three times.

Within 30 seconds of the start of the second round, Hague stumbled around from some rather ordinary-looking Braidwood shots. It would have been an ideal opportunity to call a halt to the fight.

“The stakes weren’t high enough for that bout to be continuing like that,” said Erdman.

But it continued, and Braidwood scored two more knockdowns, including a right-left combination that saw the back of Hague’s head bounce violently off the canvas.

With some help, he was able to sit on his stool. But the toll had been too great. He would be rushed to hospital, his family announcing his death from brain injuries on Sunday afternoon.

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