Heavyweights: where would they be now? (part 3/3)
By Gav Duthie: Magomed Abdusalamov 18-1 (18)
Magomed Abdusalamov is the most unfortunate of all the fighters in this piece. Not only has he had to fight for his life over the past few months his medical bills for his care are crippling. ‘Mago’ fought Mike Perez in early November 2013 in what was a candidate for fight of the year after which he ended up in a coma. The bout is very reminiscent of the great tragedy that befell Gerald McClellan at the hands of Nigel Benn. As good as these fights were I cannot personally bring myself to watch them again.
Before the Perez fight, for which he made about $50k he had a perfect 18-0 (18) knockout record. Despite no huge wins on there he had a respectable 2nd round stoppage win over former contender Jameel McCline as well as two wins over previously unbeaten prospects Pedro Rodriguez and Jason Pettaway. Perez was coming in as a slight favourite but both men gave everything they could to win that fight.
V Mike Perez
The Perez fight took place in New York in support of Golovkin-Stevens under the promotional banner of Wladimir Klitschko’s K2 promotions. It seemed quite apparent that ‘Mago’s face was swollen in the mid-rounds which was at the time attributed to a broken jaw. In hindsight many have said the fight should have been stopped and that ‘Mago’ was bludgeoned into a coma but for me he was competitive throughout and fought so hard to win as he knew this was the gateway to some big fights. Even in the last two rounds ‘Mago’ landed 41/121 punches thrown and lost a very close decision.
He complained of headaches and dizziness after the fight. The Abdusalamov family are suing K2 promotions for their lack of care for the fighter due to the incompetence of the doctors and the fact that he even had to order his own taxi to get to hospital. He had suffered swelling in the brain and was put in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling so they could operate. He suffered a stroke whilst in the coma and his condition was labelled critical but stable.
He awoke one month later in December, he understood his surroundings but couldn’t talk or walk. Reports suggest that he continues to improve but a normal life will be difficult and boxing is completely out of the question. Some reports suggest that he can now talk in short sentences as of around May but others say although he recognises relatives and can move his arms he is still unable to walk or talk.
Mago trust fund
His medical bills wiped out his purse in one month and continued at around $50k per month for the subsequent time thereafter. Sampson Lewkowicz (Mago’s promoter) along with other promoters Leon Margules and Lou DiBella and boxers like Sergio Martinez have heavily subsidised the bills. The family is going to court for damages as both K2 and HBO have been very quiet in the effort to aid the Russian.
Where would he be now?
Its hard to say. It must be noted that Mike Perez has since drawn with Carlos Takam and lost to Bryant Jennings. However I also think Perez has been greatly effected by the tragedy. Perez threw 812 punches in 10 rounds against Abdusalamov but only threw 571 in 12 rounds against Jennings. Perez has been unfocused and out of shape since the incident and is not showing anywhere his full capabilities. In the Perez-Mago fight had it gone differently Mago would have shown himself as highly capable despite the loss with a great chin and superb heart. I wouldn’t expect that he would have won a world title but I think he could have provided a huge test for some of the up and comers like Wilder and Jennings and I think he would have beaten others like Lucas Browne and Andy Ruiz. Unfortunately boxing is completely out of the picture and aged only 33 with a young family I just hope he gets the chance to live a normal life and receives the financial compensation he deserves.