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FEATHERWEIGHT BOXER JIMMY GARCIA DIES

Published: Saturday, May 20 1995 12:00 a.m. MDT

      Colombian fighter Jimmy Garcia died early Friday after doctors disconnected life support systems that had kept his heart beating for 13 days following his challenge for the WBC super featherweight title.

      His death was not unexpected by the doctors or by Gabriel Ruelas, the fighter whose fists ended up killing him."I was just hoping for a miracle during the past few days," Ruelas said.

      Ruelas was especially upset because he had promised to make someone pay for the weeks he spent training to fight Garcia on May 6.

      Garcia ended up paying with his life.

      "I regret saying that," Ruelas said of his comments in a prefight press conference. "I'm not a fighter who talks a lot. Unfortunately, what I said kind of turned out to be true."

      Ruelas visited the unconscious fighter in the hospital and met with Garcia's family several times. After the first visit, he prepared himself for Garcia's death.

      The decision to disconnect his ventilator came after doctors found no brain activity and called his family in to be with him in his last hours.

      The 23-year-old Garcia became the second boxer to die from injuries suffered in a Las Vegas ring in the last year. His death came despite the presence of four ringside physicians, one of whom was a neurosurgeon who was operating on Garcia within 35 minutes of his collapse in the ring.

      Nevada boxing officials said they would investigate the death and continue to study boxing-related injuries.

      "I believe in my heart we did everything right but the boy still died," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. "We've got to see if there was some stone unturned we can learn from."

      At Cincinnati, former welterweight champion Aaron Pryor, who has battled drug addiction and other personal problems since his mid-1980s fall from boxing glory, was found guilty Friday of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

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