Former heavyweight world champion David Haye has urged boxer's management teams to take more responsibility for the health of their fighters after the injuries sustain by Nick Blackwell forced him to be induced into a coma. Referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight in the 10th round on advice of the ringside doctor after Blackwell had absorbed significant punishment from Chris Eubank Jr throughout the pair's British middleweight title fight at Wembley Arena.
The 25-year-old remains in an induced coma following the bout on Saturday [26 March] at Wembley though his condition is not understood to have deteriorated. Blackwell was found to have a small bleed to the brain following the encounter and was heavily sedated and received oxygen.
Blackwell's condition has reopened the debate regarding the safety of boxing. Chris Eubank Snr was forced to take matters into his own hands at the end of the eighth round after asking his son to refocus his punches on his opponents' body rather than his head as the referee continued to overlook Blackwell's condition.
Eubank Snr admits he would have withdrawn his son had the roles been reversed and the team believe the fight should have been stopped long before the 10th round. Haye, 35, wants corners to put the health of their fighters first.
"Obviously [some boxers need protecting from themselves]," Haye told reporters. "He would have carried on the fight. If the referee hadn't stopped the fight he would have gone 12 rounds. Then it would have got real dangerous. I am very happy that the referee and the doctor saw that something wasn't right. You've got millions of people around the world watching and a fighters' health is paramount. If the same fight happened again next Saturday the fight would be stopped, maybe in the sixth or seventh round. People would realise that no matter how tough this guy is, we say what happened last week.
"I believe that when there is a situation whee a fighter is having zero success and it is pretty clear; his corner should be the first one to pull him out. I took 3%-5% of the punishment Nick Blackwell took and I ended up with the worst concussion of my life."
The former WBA heavyweight champion Haye was speaking after confirming he will fight Kosovo-born Arnold Gjergjaj on 21 May at the O2 Arena. In response to the injuries suffered by Blackwell, Haye will donate 10% of the ticket purse for the event at the O2 Arena – estimated to be around £50,000 – as a tribute to the Trowbridge-born fighters' never say die attitude with his boxing career very likely to be over.
"He could not have given any more," he added. "He tried every single thing. If he didn't have heart, if he was a quitter in any way shape or form, if he didn't put his life on the line he wouldn't be in hospital now. He would have gone down in the second, third or fourth round. He is not that guy and because of his sheer determination, heart and desire he is a victim of his own strengths."
David Haye takes on Arnold 'The Cobra' Gjerjaj at The O2 on May 21 - for tickets visit theo2.co.uk.