Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Magomed Abdusalamov left with severe brain damage.

Magomed Abdusalamov (Russian: Магомед Абдусаламов; born 25 March 1981) is a Russian former professional boxer who fought at heavyweight.

As an amateur, he won the 2005 and 2006 Russian national championships in the super heavyweight division. 

He turned professional in 2008, fighting nineteen times and winning his first eighteen by knockout

In 2013, Abdusalamov was forced to retire from the sport due to severe brain injuries sustained during his only career defeat to Mike Perez.



A Fighter’s Hour of Need

Interviews reveal the events in the 60 minutes after a 2013 bout at Madison
Square Garden that left Magomed Abdusalamov with severe brain damage.


On Nov. 2, 2013, Mike Perez defeated Magomed Abdusalamov in a heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden. This is a reconstruction of the hour after the fight, based in part on the transcripts of two dozen interviews given under oath and conducted by the New York State Office of the Inspector General as part of its continuing investigation into the fight and the operations of the State Athletic Commission.
His undercard loss unanimous, the heavyweight exits.  His face is misshapen, his eyes swollen, his brain most likely bleeding.The boxer, Magomed Abdusalamov, will never recover. He is 32, a husband and father. They call him Mago
After the fight the boxer collapses into a foldout chair, his hands still encased in protective white wraps. Here is a 6-foot-3, 231-pound vessel damaged by the 10-round bout he has just lost.

Hovering about in the suffocating room are all types: Mago’s father, his brother, his trainer, his cut man, his manager, his manager’s son. A doctor with a kit in his hand. A boxing inspector ...
 A Blood Clot Forms

There have been other traumatic brain injuries, other deaths caused by bleeding in the brain. Now, a blood clot is forming in Mago’s skull, compressing space, requiring a relief of pressure before it’s too late.

Brain bleeds can be slow to reveal themselves.  Boxing’s intent is to render your opponent unconscious, with brain trauma an anticipated possibility.

Mago studies his pulped face in the dressing room mirror. He is not a cursing man, but bad words escape. He is saying his face hurts, or maybe it’s his head that hurts. The back and forth between English and Russian confuses things.

Varlotta subjects Mago to the King-Devick test, which is designed to detect possible concussions through a reading of jumbled numbers displayed on cards. Using his smartphone as a stopwatch, Varlotta records that Mago performs slightly slower than he did during an earlier administration of the test.

At some point the doctor tests Mago’s balance by having him stand and sit. The quick physical exam detects probable hand and nasal fractures, but Varlotta sees no sign of neurological damage.

Meanwhile, Mago’s trainer, John David Jackson, is becoming agitated by what he believes is the wasting of valuable time. What he will remember is his repeated insistence that his fighter needs to go to the hospital.

Jackson, 50, knows the game. His career ended with a 36-4 record and a couple of world titles, but he is best remembered for the 1994 “Fight of the Year.” He had Jorge Castro on the ropes in the ninth round, Castro staggering and all but blind in one eye and then a left hook from nowhere dropped Jackson for the count.

Jackson never liked this matchup to begin with, believing that Mago’s opponent, Mike Perez, was much more experienced. And the fight was particularly brutal; probably should have been stopped. Too late now.

Mago received about 15 minutes of medical attention in the small dressing room. He is not asked to hang around for further observation. He is not re-examined.

Reports go to Dr. Barry Jordan, a neurologist and the athletic commission’s chief medical officer, who sits ringside in the arena, where the tension-filled main event is about to begin.

In addition to serving as the night’s medical supervisor, Jordan has responsibilities that include reviewing the accident reports and determining the length of time before injured boxers can return to the ring. In the case of Magomed Abdusalamov, he scribbles his decisions: 60 days for the facial laceration; “indefinite” for the nasal injury.

Jordan, who has been involved with the athletic commission for 30 years, is considered a leading expert on boxing injuries, particularly those to the brain. He will say with pride that New York is a national leader in boxing safety, and that if Mago had indicated having a headache, the fighter would have been “out the door,” bound for the hospital in an ambulance.

Back in the dressing room, Farrago, the inspector, announces that Mago needs to give urine before being able to leave. But Mago takes a while to deliver. His brother helps him to his feet and walks him to the shower stall, where he eventually urinates into a cup.

Farrago becomes alarmed after seeing what he thinks is the cloudiness of blood in the urine sample. “You need to go to the hospital ASAP,” he says. “You need to take him to the hospital. Get him dressed....”
 “Go outside; hail a cab,” he says. “Just tell them, ‘Go to the nearest hospital.’ ” 

Mago, meanwhile, has been handed a $30,000 check for his night’s labor, but he is struggling to dress himself. His brother helps him into his street clothes ...The boxer is hustled into the taxi, which speeds to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital...
Despite emergency treatment at the hospital, Magomed Abdusalamov was left with severe brain damage. The family’s lawyer, Paul Edelstein, filed lawsuits against the athletic commission, its doctors and others, including Farrago (who later helped to raise money for the Abdusalamovs).

The athletic commission — an agency within the Department of State in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — has undergone changes, including the appointment of a new chairman and the institution of new protocols. 

Abdusalamov and his family live in a friend’s house in Greenwich, Conn. He is partly paralyzed, cannot speak and requires round-the-clock care.


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