The tragic story of Prichard Colón is a desperately sad tale. Colón, who had a very bright future ahead of him as a skilled boxer, had his life changed immeasurably due to one particular fight.
Colón has never been the same person since his 2015 fight with American Terrel Williams, which featured many illegal moves by Williams, with the referee inexplicably failing to step in – resulting in Colón’s life changing.
Colón was born in Florida, USA in 1992. Some members of the Colón family, including Prichard, moved to Puerto Rico in the early 2000s.
Colón had a passion for boxing from a young age. He went on to have a very successful amateur boxing career – winning 5 national championships in Puerto Rico, and fighting at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Colón then turned professional, making his debut in 2013. He excelled, and incredibly won his first 16 bouts, including a victory over well-known boxer Vivian Harris.
Colón fought 16 times in just 2 and a half years – a schedule that was seen as excessive, albeit showcasing his passion for the sport. But this would all cruelly come to an end soon.
The Fight against Terrel Williams
On October 17th, 2015, Colón was scheduled to fight American boxer Terrel Williams in Fairfax, Virginia. In a cruel twist of fate, the bout hadn’t been intended to be part of the show, but an injury affecting another fight changed this.
Colón and Williams fought a competitive match – although Colón was considered to have the upper hand in the scores. This was despite Williams making the illegal and dangerous move of punching Colón in the back of his head.
This move – known as the “rabbit punch” – is incredibly dangerous, and is illegal in boxing. A blow to the back of the head can damage the spinal cord and brain of an individual. In some cases, it can cause instant death.
Colón informed the referee – Joe Cooper – of the blows, but Cooper shrugged off the concerns. As per boxing rules, Cooper should have stepped in to deduct points from Williams, or disqualify him outright.
Williams was deducted one point, but this didn’t affect his behaviour. Throughout the fight, Colón was frequently seen holding the back of his head.
In Round 9, following numerous illegal moves, Colón was knocked down, before getting back up. At the end of the round, he spoke to the ringside doctor – saying that he felt dizzy – but was able to continue. The ringside doctor cleared Colón – declaring him fit to fight.
Colón ended up being disqualified following the ninth round, due to his corner accidentally removing his gloves – believing that the fight was over.
Colón experienced significant dizziness. After returning to his dressing room, Colón vomited heavily and was trembling. He was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed as having a bleed on the brain.
Colón then went into a coma for 221 days. This was over 7 months – representing a colossal amount of time. Tributes and prayers for Colón were sent by many around the world.
Since the Terrel Williams fight
Colón awoke from his coma after 221 days. However, he was in a persistent vegetative state – and unable to walk or talk.
Colón initially received treatment in a hospital in Virginia, before being moved to a more specialist hospital in the state of Georgia. He was eventually moved to his mother’s home in Florida.
The world of boxing responded in horror to Colón’s injuries. He continues to be thought of highly by the boxing community – with Deontay Wilder breaking down in October 2022 whilst discussing Colón.
Where is Prichard Colón now?
As of 2023, Colón continues to recover with his family. Since the fight, Colón has been recovering at home with his parents, who have shared occasional footage of him.
Colón remains unable to walk unassisted or talk, though continues to undergo physical therapy sessions, as he seeks to build up his strength.
In late 2022, his family shared a video of Colón celebrating his 30th birthday. Other videos show him battling away in therapy.
The videos of Colón do however show that he is a fighter! Over the years, he has gradually been improving, and now has a wider range of facial expressions, and incredibly – he remains upbeat.
The hope is that Colón’s recovery will continue over the coming months, and that eventually, he may get to a point where he can live independently again. It is just so cruel that such a promising career was cut short in this manner.
He was honoured by the WBC by making him World Boxing Council Champion for life. It was presented to him as an appreciation of his fighting spirit and tenacious quality.
Where is Terrel Williams now?
Williams has mainly kept a low profile since the fight. Many criticised him for showing little remorse in the aftermath of the fight. Moreover, there was also the dirty and illegal tactics he employed in the fight.
His behaviour has led to death threats and abuse becoming a regular occurrence. He blamed the Colón family for saying “malicious stuff” about him.
In September 2017, Williams said that “I pray for Prichard every day”, and that he wishes him “nothing but peace and health”. He went on to say that “all boxers are brothers”. As for how true these words are – only Williams truly knows.
Williams fought for the first time since the infamous bout in November 2017. Williams won this match, and two others. He then lost to Thomas Dulorme in 2019, and has not fought since.
Many have called on legal proceedings to be brought against Williams for his behaviour in the fight.
Anyone that becomes a boxer knows the risks involved. However, when you face an opponent with such a flagrant disregard for the rules and safety of the other boxer, that risk becomes out of their control.
What happened to Colón was a disgrace, and has changed his life forever. The fact that Williams remains active, earning money and living life normally, only adds insult. Hopefully, Colón’s recovery will continue.