The greatest night of Scott Fitzgerald's boxing career so far almost never happened as his father Dave talks candidly about his son's troubles
On the eve of the biggest night of Scott Fitzgerald's boxing career, his father Dave revealed he was close to pulling his son out of his blockbuster domestic showdown with arch rival Anthony Fowler.
The Preston boxer has fought a long and well-documented battle with mental health issues and drug addiction.
And those struggles were laid bare this week by images, posted on social media, which appear to show him in a poorly condition and dishevelled state outside a pub in Preston.
The pictures have sent shockwaves around the boxing fraternity across the country, with people such as his promoter Eddie Hearn vowing to help him overcome his problems.
For Fitzgerald senior, the past few years have been torturous for him personally as he tried to steer his son away from trouble not just for his boxing career, but for his life in general.
Despite getting himself in great condition fitness wise for the Fowler fight back in March 2019, all was not well inside the boxer's mind..
But in a illustration of his undoubted talent as an athlete, he managed to defeat Fowler and then went on to claim the British title later that year when he outpointed Ted Cheeseman.
"Mentally he wasn't stable for the Fowler fight," said Dave Fitzgerald, a former boxer himself who has trained his son from childhood.
"We nearly pulled him out of it. I didn't think for one minute that he would win the fight.
"I had the towel in my hand ready because let's not forget it was me in the corner and it was my job to pull him out at any point I thought he was in trouble, but the fight ended up going his way."
Fitzgerald has spent a period in rehabilitation at Tony Adams' Sporting Chance clinic in the past and his father is eager to see him receive further help.
His promoter Hearn is keen to help the boxer, he told IFLTV: "This has been an ongoing situation for over a year now.
"Scott went into rehab, into Sporting Chance, over a year and a half ago and we hoped he was moving in the right direction.
"When you have problems like that, boxing can be the saviour but it can also mask the problems. When you're not in that environment, you go back into that bad place.
"The problem is that Scott doesn't feel like he needs help, and he does need help. As bad as those pictures were, I'm hoping that is the moment he looks at himself in the mirror and says, 'I do need help'."
One person who Fitzgerald could look to for help is fellow Lancashire fighter, Morecambe's Tyson Fury.
The heavyweight has admitted to his own struggles with mental health in the past, but managed to overcome them and become world champion again when he defeated Deontay Wilder.
Just a week ago, Fury post on social media that "Even the world heavyweight champion struggles sometimes, you're not alone. It's good to talk."
While a pinned tweet of his reads:" never judge someone by there exterior look. i looked on top of the world but inside i was dying. #mentalhealth #JUSTASK"
Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.