By: Sean Crose
It wasn’t supposed to end this way, because it’s never supposed to end this way. What those who condemn boxing on moral grounds are apt to misunderstand is the fact that boxing isn’t designed to maim and kill. It’s there to showcase competition in it’s purest form, fight elevated and refined to the level of sport. The reality of it’s violent nature doesn’t take away, or cancel out, boxing’s ultimate positive aspect, which is the celebration of individual achievement. Yet there’s no looking away from that violent nature, either, or the brutality that comes with it. When terrible things happen, those of us who love the sport must look the darkness in the eye and accept it’s brutal reality, even if that means we will find ourselves in mourning.
And today, fight fans find themselves in mourning. For Maxim Dadashev, a rising junior welterweight, has died at the way too young age of of 28 from injuries received in an IBF title eliminator bout against Subriel Matias last Friday night. After taking what was amounting to a hellish beating, Dadashev was informed by Hall of Fame head trainer Buddy McGirt after the eleventh round that he, McGirt, was stopping the bout for Dadashev’s own good. It was a great moment for the sport, as a highly regarded trainer and former champion put his fighter’s safety before all else. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to anyone, it was too little, too late. The previously undefeated Dadashev had difficulty leaving the ring, then lost consciousness on the way to the hospital. Today it was confirmed that he had passed.
“It just makes you realize,” McGirt has told ESPN, “what type of sport we’re in, man.” There’s more to that statement than some might think at first glance. For whatever it’s flaws, boxing has made genuine strides to become safer. Bouts no longer run fifteen rounds. Medical treatment is readily on hand on site, and is well coordinated. Trainers like McGirt and referees like England’s Howard Foster are willing to take intense criticism for “stopping fights too soon” rather than pushing their consciences aside. Still, the death of Dadashev only goes to show that the brutality of boxing can be precaution-proof. No matter what, people get hurt, people die. It’s that violent a sport.
“He did everything right in training,” ESPN further quotes McGirt as saying, “no problems, no nothing. My mind is like really running crazy right now. Like, what could I have done differently? But at the end of the day, everything was fine.” On Friday McGirt literally found himself begging his fighter to let him stop the fight before ultimately ignoring Dadashev and telling both the ring doctor and referee that enough was enough.
McGirt had to defy Dadashev because the fighter simply didn’t want to quit. Dadshev was literally a warrior to the end. McGirt claimed after the bout, which was aired live by ESPN, that he’d rather have a fighter mad at him than let that fighter fall by the wayside. The fact that Dadashev ultimately passed regardless only adds to the sense of tragedy.
Top Rank released this statement:
Top Rank is devastated to report that Maxim Dadashev passed away earlier this morning due to injuries sustained during last Friday’s bout. Maxim was a talented fighter inside the ring and a loving husband and father outside the ropes. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum: “Maxim was a terrific young man. We are all saddened and affected by his untimely death.”