How to Kill Friends and Influence Very Few People

By Paul Magno on November 1, 2017
How to Kill Friends and Influence Very Few People
Soto Karass is going through wars to cover his utility bills and make the car payments.

Soto Karass was a veteran pug destined to second and third-tier status until Oscar De la Hoya’s promotional outfit resurrected the corpse of his career…

Jesus Soto Karass (28-12-4, 18 KOs) hasn’t won a prizefight since stopping a one-armed Andre Berto in July of 2013, but that hasn’t stopped Golden Boy Promotions from marching him into the ring time and time again as the company’s personal crash test dummy.

It was this unlikely victory over Berto that propelled the Los Mochis, Sinaloa native into the second stage of a career that seemed to be on the verge of fizzling out prior to that.

Soto Karass was a veteran pug destined to second and third-tier status and settling into the role of gatekeeper en route to journeyman until Oscar De la Hoya’s promotional outfit resurrected the corpse of his career with an entertaining battle against similarly zero destination Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Thus began the Mexican brawler’s unlikely main event run. In matchmaking more closely resembling junkyard demolition derby than main stage boxing, Soto Karass would be matched against other loose ends in the 147-154 lb. range in predictably entertaining, but utterly pointless bloodlettings. A one and one record against Kamegai and a majority decision loss to Mauricio Herrera firmly placed a cap on what could be expected of an always limited fighter who was now slowing down even further.

It’s been an entertaining run and how can one argue against such an honest, earnest fighter earning paychecks in bouts against similarly earnest, honest fighters?

But at what point is there a line drawn between boxing as a sport and boxing as slow suicide for the amusement of fans?

With each step into the ring, Soto Karass is guaranteeing a worse and worse future for himself. Punishment accumulated will take its toll—and there has been a LOT accumulated in his career, during well-documented gym wars as well as actual bouts. As a tougher than tough battler with a solid chin, limited defense, no one-punch power to end bouts early, and a long, hard career full of wars, Soto Karass is Mr. Dementia Pugilistica. If the 35-year-old makes it to his 50th birthday without significant neurological degeneration, it will be a medical miracle.

And it’s not like we’re talking about a fighter putting his life and well-being in peril for a life-changing fortune in legacy-defining, historically significant bouts. Soto Karass is playing to small houses for a relatively small amount of money in minor fights meant to capture the fleeting fancy of boxing’s most hardcore of hardcore fans.

The man is going through wars to cover his utility bills and make the car payments. History tells us that as time passes, the paydays will get smaller, the beatings will get more severe, and the ugliness amps up as he will have to fight more frequently and suffer more punishment to make the same amount of money he did the previous year.

If you think this is some sort of bleeding heart lament from some pansy writer—the warrior, himself, understands the dangerous, dead end road down which he’s traveling.

“After my loss to Kamegai, retirement was in my thoughts,” Soto Karass told UCN Live prior to his loss to Herrera. “But people kept saying, ‘Come on; come on! Keep fighting!’ so I said I’d give it another try. I want to fight for my family and for my fans…Win, lose or draw—the first thing I will do is sit down with my wife and kids and talk about it (retirement).”

This November 2, Soto Karass meets another tough luck veteran, Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1, 18 KOs), in a bout featured on ESPN’s Golden Boy Boxing. It’ll be an entertaining fight for as long as it lasts, but it won’t mean much more than some entertainment on a Thursday evening. Soto Karass will still be fighting paycheck to paycheck and, no matter what happens, he won’t be any further along, professionally. 

The damage will keep piling up, though. The price for a paycheck today will be his well-being tomorrow. But Soto Karass bravely accepts that risk while everyone around him seeks to exploit his bravery for a buck. This is boxing.

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  1. Bruce Kielty 11:56am, 11/03/2017

    An excellent article and on-target.  You could tell after last night’s defeat to Abreu that even the ESPN announcers were saddened.  When I was 18, I accidentally met 1940s middleweight brawler Ossie “Bulldog” Harris in a store where I worked in Pittsburgh.  He was being led around by another man, by the hand.  As they say, the “Bulldog” fought everyone.  “Everyone” included LaMotta (3 times), Robinson (twice), Zivic (4 times), Zale, Burley, etc. Believe me, he paid a horrible toll and died in his 40s.  On the other hand, it is a free country and a man has the right to make his own choices.  Nevertheless, it is rather obvious that commissions should seriously look at Karass’ fitness for future bouts.  Do I have any confidence that the government workers at these commissions will perform due diligence?  Not on your life.

  2. Kid Blast 07:28am, 11/02/2017

    Karass is a tragedy waiting to happen

  3. David 01:50pm, 11/01/2017

    It just goes to show you how brutal the boxing game really is.

  4. Sheldon Leonard 07:27am, 11/01/2017

    It’s not just the “hardcore of the hardcore”’s boxing fans….period! If the typical boxing nut has a dog in the fight…..they just want to see the other guy get beat the fuk up….period! If they don’t have a pick or a favorite they just want to see someone .....anyone….get their ass torn up…..that’s where guys like Soto Karass come in because even when he’s lucky enough to get the nod he’s still going to get a beating .....maybe even more so than the guy he “officially” defeats….it’s a win…win!

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