Two days after taking heavy punishment over 10 rounds against Mike Perez at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov was in stable condition and intensive care at Roosevelt Hospital in New York on Monday, according to Nathan Lewkowicz, vice president of Sampson Boxing, the promotional company that promotes Abdusalamov.
Abdusalamov, 32, who entered the fight with Perez unbeaten at 18-0 (18 KOs), underwent brain surgery on Sunday after complaining of a headache. Physicians at Roosevelt Hospital decided to place him in a coma to attempt to minimize swelling in his brain and reduce the possibility of more brain damage.
The New York State Athletic Commission offered this statement about the Abdusalamov situation to NYFightblog on Monday:
"NYSAC's primary concern is the health and safety of its licensed athletes. As we do in all such cases, NYSAC is reviewing the circumstances surrounding Mr. Abdusalamov's injuries. We are hopeful he makes a complete and speedy recovery."
The Russian's plight, on the heels of Frankie Leal's death from injuries sustained in his Oct. 19 bout against Raul Hirales, are two stark reminders that boxing isn't merely a sport, but in fact a potentially life-and-death endeavor. Former 154-pound champion Sergio Mora, who fights for New York promoter Lou DiBella, told me he found himself caught up, like so many, in the violent ebb and flow between Perez and Abdusalamov.
"As I was watching this weekend's semi-main event on HBO, I was thinking, 'Wow, this fight is getting good between Mago and Perez,'" Mora said. "I was guilty just like everyone else in wanting to see two big, strong fighters put on a show of beautiful brutality. ... Mago's corner did what they were supposed to do for their fighter, and that is to remain calm, give proper instructions and relieve their boxer of worry and concern. Mago, being a tough fighter, did his job and continued fighting, trying to win. It was clear who was the polished boxer here and who was the fighter."
Mora is scheduled to step into the ring Nov. 16 against Milton Nunez.
"There is no one in particular at fault for the violent display of courage this [past] weekend. ... The problem is the aftermath that no one sees," he said. "The bruises and injuries that well up all over the boxer's head and body after the adrenaline wears down. But we signed up for this. ... We all wait for Mago's medical clearance and pray for his health and family. At the same time, this brutal and fickle sport will patiently await his return to the ring as well."