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Magomed Abdusalamov: One Year Later


by Sean Crose

America is the land of opportunity.

It is not, however, the land of guaranteed success.

Unfortunately, people sometimes confuse the two. In extreme cases, the results can be tragic.

It was a full ago that Magomed Abdusalamov got battered into being an invalid by Mike Perez in that most American of venues, Madison Square Garden. Things would never be the same for the Russian immigrant or for his family after November 2nd, 2013.

For those of us who watched the Perez fight, it was clear pretty early on that something was wrong with Abdusalamov that night. For he was complaining of being hurt in his corner between rounds. And men who hold 18-0 records (with all 18 wins by knockout) are not apt to whine.

Yet Abdusalamov kept fighting. And fighting. And fighting. After a certain point Abdusalamov’s face began taking on a puffy and battered look.

I’ll never forget my father, a lifelong fight fan and old school tough guy, commenting that Abdusalamov was in serious trouble. Not the kind of trouble that gets you knocked out, mind you. The kind of trouble that alters and ends lives.

My old man was right. It was time to stop the fight. Heck, it looked like Abdusalamov WANTED someone to stop the fight. No one did, however. It needlessly went all ten rounds. Suffice to say, Abdusalamov lost the decision.

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Mago (r) during the bout that ended his career and life as he knew it

A few hours later he lost life as he knew it.

For Abdusalamov had broken his hand during the fight. As well as his jaw. As well as – possibly – his nose. After the fight it was found that he had blood in his urine. Yet none of the doctors on duty at the Garden that night thought the man was in serious danger. What’s more, neither of the two ambulances at the Garden took the man to the hospital. Nope. He had to go by cab.

And then, finally, it was learned that Abdusalamov was internally bleeding – in his brain.

That all happened a year ago. And now, a year later, the man still can’t talk. Nor can he walk. He needs twenty-four hour care and can’t move the right side of his body. His wife reportedly claims that Mago doesn’t remember the events that put him in this terrible state – nor is he possibly even aware of the seriousness of his current condition.

The Abdusalamov’s have three young daughters.

No names other than Abdusalamov’s and Perez’s are going to be mentioned in this article. Sure, there may be plenty of blame to go around, but I’m quite frankly not interested in pointing fingers at anyone. No one wanted this to happen, after all. To the best of my knowledge, none of the individuals involved could even vaguely qualify as being evil.

What I think is important to remember, though, is the fact that sometimes, sometimes, it’s okay to quit.

It’s also okay to let someone around you quit, no matter how bad you want that person to succeed. Indeed each of us eventually comes to a point in the road where we realize we’re in over our heads, where it’s okay to step back.

Unless we’re in the business of saving lives, like police, soldiers, firemen and medical personnel are, there’s no reason to risk it all in the line of work (personal acts of sacrifice and bravery are another matter entirely). Again, America is the land of opportunity, it’s not the land that guarantees success if we just keep going, just keep trying, just keep enduring and just keep damaging ourselves.

That’s something we all need to remember . . . that, and the continuing plight of the Abdusalamovs.

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