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NY State Dragging Its Feet Reporting on Mago Abdusalamov Tragedy

Posted on 01/09/2015

By Ivan G. Goldman

Below is an email I sent to New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

Dear Ms. Scott:

We’ve heard basically nothing since your office began investigating the awful events of November 2, 2013. That’s when Mago Abdusalamov made the mistake of participating in a heavyweight prizefight supervised by the horrifically incompetent New York athletic commission.

As far as I can tell, you’re still cashing your salary checks so I guess you’re in good health, and that’s just great. However, apparently Mr. Abdusalamov, 33, a father of two young daughters, is in the hospital again due to complications arising from that bout with Mike Perez. He reportedly cannot speak or walk or respond to verbal or other communications.

If you haven’t yet gotten around to this particular case, allow me to point out that although it’s the responsibility of the commission you’re supposed to be investigating to keep boxing participants reasonably safe, it failed miserably in its mission, and this is not the first time. Mr. Abdusalamov absorbed one of the most severe beatings every seen on TV (HBO).

Perhaps you have yet to release a report on it because you’ve been too absorbed in the problem of improper snowmobile registrations issued by the Fulton County Department of Motor Vehicles. Your office proudly put out a detailed account on that last year while it was supposed to be investigating the athletic commission.

Mago before the injury

Meanwhile that commission continues to supervise bouts even as we speak, placing other fighters in jeopardy. And it’s released no information that would lead us to conclude it’s taken corrective action. It hasn’t even apologized for its terrible failings.

Those of us watching the fight on TV heard some of the conversation in the corner between rounds. Mr. Abdusalamov was clearly concerned and kept asking about his severe injuries that included broken bones in his face and one hand. But each time his cornermen mopped up their severely busted up fighter and sent him back out there to absorb more heavyweight shots while the referee, inspectors, ring physicians, and other commission functionaries looked on like placid penguins.

After the 10 rounds were concluded (Perez won by unanimous decision) no one from the commission even bothered to call an ambulance for Mr. Abdusalamov, who was unsteady and vomiting. So the commission failed him during and after the contest.

His seconds took him from Madison Square Garden to the hospital in a taxi, stopping for red lights. Surgeons found bleeding on the brain and induced a coma, but there was a stroke and awful neurological consequences.

Mr. Abdusalamov, who hails originally from the Daegestan region of Russia, no doubt thought that here in the U.S. he’d reached a more civilized, secure place where bouts would be conducted under safer conditions.

Meanwhile the commission uses your investigation, such as it is, as an excuse to dummy up. I know you were a prosecutor before assuming your present position, and I expect you’ve seen much tougher cases dealt with in reasonable fashion. In this case much of what occurred was visually recorded.

Your investigation, should it ever reach a conclusion, could help advance us toward the goal of justice in this terrible case. We need a thorough report that names names and directs any future commission into a detailed strategy that will embrace and reward professionalism and punish the guilty.

It’s far too late to address these issues in a timely fashion, but if you’re there on the job, Ms. Scott, I wonder if you would take the time to address them now.

New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.

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