Mike Perez – No World Lost

By Ben Thomsett on January 19, 2014
Mike Perez – No World Lost
Perez vs. Takam 2 isn't on any sober promoter’s lips. (Dario Ayala/The Gazette)

All we found out last night was what we should have already have known – Mike Perez isn’t a destroyer of worlds…

Magomed Abdusalamov is a brave and fortunate man. He deserves our respect. After staggering through ten whole rounds of an entire fight, he looked at his opponent out of his one remaining good eye and I’m certain I saw the kind of defiance people don’t get to witness often. His was a kind of steel-proud gaze that film directors would be hard pushed to get from any action hero, for any price. Abdusalamov had just lost on points but if, like me, you watched that fight, you can only have supreme admiration for what that man put himself through. But unbridled admiration gets you nowhere in the clinical world of physical health. Emotion doesn’t stop the blood vessels from closing or brain cells dying. Magomed suffered a blood clot to the brain during the fight, then had a stroke afterwards while he was in a medically induced coma in a New York hospital. Things looked bad, so bad that the doctors had given him hardly any chance of survival, just like most people had given him throughout the latter rounds of that fight. We were all wrong.

Today, Magomed Abdusalamov is in rehab. He’s lost weight, and he’s learning to speak and walk again. It’s a medical intervention that, in the USA, is costing much more than Abdusalamov was ever likely to earn in the ring. It’s also probable that he would have had to have left the country just to learn to speak his own name again, but there are people in the world of the selfish gene who have both money and a sense of the humane. Most of Magomed’s entire treatment cost is being met by Andrey Ryabinsky. Who? Well, he was the guy who bid $23,000,000 to promote Klitschko vs. Povetkin. He’s not short of a bob or two. I don’t know Mr. Ryabinsky personally – though I wish I did – but I certainly want to join the line behind Magomed’s wife and daughters to praise him. The words “noble” and “thanks” don’t really cover it. Abdusalamov can now start to rebuild his life, move on. Last night, the guy who caused those injuries on Magomed Abdusalamov back in November was trying to move on too.

Mike Perez – the Cuban Heavyweight who lives in Ireland – huffed and puffed against Carlos Takam on the undercard of the Lucian Bute vs. Jean Pascal fight. What was going through his mind as his first punch hit home, only he knows. It’s ironic that a sport whose participants spend time trying to cause each other to pass out by punching them in the head actually care. But they do. Mike Perez didn’t want to see Abdusalamov end up in hospital. That much we do know for certain.

Perez has never been the hardest hitting puncher in the world; his fists aren’t awesome weapons either in the way George Foreman, Earnie Shavers, Jack Dempsey, or Rocky Marciano’s were. Perez isn’t an explosive hitter or an angle punching freak like Naseem Hamed. He just hit Abdusalamov too many times in one evening, and where other fighters would have gone down for good, Abdusalamov just kept on going. You can argue that Abdusalamov’s corner might have been a little bit more proactive with the towel but that’s a mute point. He wanted to keep on going, so he did. So, it was with all this in mind that I started watching the fight last night.

Perez who, according to Glenn McCrory is a light trainer (substitute “lazy” if you like), plodded onwards from the start of the fight as he always does, but something was different. As the fight stumbled along like two tussling elephant seals wallowing in glue and smashed on Seconal, I got it – Perez wasn’t hurting Takam. How was this possible? After the horror of the Abdusalamov fight I fully expected Perez to launch Takam into the stratosphere and maybe, if he was lucky, Takam would survive to compare notes with Magomed on how to pronounce vowels again. Either that or – like Chris Eubank after the Michael Watson fight – Perez would withdraw into himself in fear of his own ability to inflict serious harm on a fellow fighter. He may never be the same. But the truth was the Abdusalamov bout was a freak of a fight. It was a one off. A hideous set of events, not to be repeated any time soon by Perez because he doesn’t have the tools and he won’t get “an Abdusalamov” in front of him again. I had been sold on the less scientific aspects of the sweet science; bought, sold, suckered in. Mike Perez labored, slapped, leant forward, and showed hardly an ounce of skill or danger against Carlos Takam. Anyone should have predicted it from a guy with 12 KOs from 20 wins who couldn’t dispatch Travis Walker. In short, he’s no Lucas Browne or Deontay Wilder.

In the end, the sludgefest finished as a draw, which was fair(ish). Perez had shown he is adept at coming forward with his head down, clubbing aimlessly and without much power; Takam, that he was comfortable taking the punches and more than able to dish them back in the same slow-motion manner. I had got the fight as a Takam win by two rounds but, hey, in the world of boxing judges that kind of discrepancy is nothing. It’s unimportant in this case, Perez vs. Takam 2 isn’t on any sober promoter’s lips……hopefully.

A burgeoning resurgence in the Heavyweight division wasn’t really aided by last night’s fight. All we found out was what we should have already have known – Mike Perez isn’t a destroyer of worlds.

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Mike Perez vs Carlos Takam full fight 18.01.2014

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  1. nicolas 11:52pm, 01/19/2014

    Would I be correct to say that Chirs Eubanks was never the same fighter after what happened in his second fight with Michael Watson. Abel Sanchez was concerned about how Perez would fight in this match. Perhaps the judges knowing this gave Perez the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Darrell 09:54pm, 01/19/2014


    True Ben Thomsett, so very true.

  3. Clarence George 06:19pm, 01/19/2014

    I didn’t take Ben’s “he’s learning to speak and walk again” literally, but more as an expression of “Whatever can be done, will be done.”

  4. Pete The Sneak 05:54pm, 01/19/2014

    Mr.Thomsett, nice write up…If the word improvement can be utilized in any way shape or form in regards to Mago, then at this point in time, I’ll take it (for now)...Peace.

  5. Mike Schmidt 03:36pm, 01/19/2014

    Understood Ben and thanks. Now I had better get back to my day job!! You can no doubt tell, like many, I am very sensitive on this subject. There have been many “posts” on various boxing sites of the ilk, “glad to hear Mago is doing better, glad to hear Mago is improving….” Many questions to be answered…..thanks again.

  6. Ben Thomsett 02:33pm, 01/19/2014

    Yes, it’s common knowledge what’s happened to Abdusalamov. Take my phrase “he’s learning to walk and talk again” as a metaphor. I don’t think any of us want to write him off by simply implying he’s brain-dead. “Learning to walk again” is a phrase commonly used to indicate hoped-for improvement. This, I was wanting to put across. Apologies for this confusion. I guess my style is a little too “free” and not enough “newsy” for some. I don’t think I’ll give up the day job….....oh, wait….

  7. Mike Schmidt 02:21pm, 01/19/2014

    As far as I can find out, there has been no significant change in Mago’s condition since Thomas Hauser’s superb but vivid dark Christmas day write up ( or the New York Post article of Jan 12). I will remember Mr. Hauser’s article for time. I came back from a sub zero run up Georgian Bay Schmidt Estate way- hell of a stark wake up read on a cold morning fireplace Christmas time read. Ben, Robert Eck am I missing something on this nice write up..”...he’s learning to speak and walk again.” Is he? “...can now start to rebuild his life, move on.” Can he? “...isn’t a destroyer of worlds.” Guys if you have further on Mago’s condition please I would like to know. This story of course is far from done. As far as I can make out Mago’s wife is completing necessary guardianship applications- It would not be of surprise to see the legal apps then come hard to the New York State Commish- wrong or right. Thank you and all in full respect

  8. Clarence George 01:52pm, 01/19/2014

    Don’t feel badly, Ben.  I at first shared David’s reaction, but it then occurred to me that you used “mute” deliberately, and for the clever reason you state.

  9. David Payne 01:36pm, 01/19/2014

    Sorry Ben. Sharp.

  10. Ben Thomsett 01:00pm, 01/19/2014

    Thanks for the comments and the praise. Very kind. As it happens; the “moot” v “mute” thing….... I was actually making a joke (badly as it turns out) on the lack of interjection by Abdusalamov’s corner.

  11. David Payne 12:42pm, 01/19/2014

    Great view Ben. Moot point I think you meant. Didn’t see much to worry a John Ruiz type champion let alone a Wladimir.

  12. Mike Schmidt 07:35am, 01/19/2014

    Who but Perez knows what goes thru his mind every second of every day—January 12 New York Post, Mago “doesn’t recognize anyone, can’t speak, and his three daughters haven’t seen him in nearly three months.” He can “now move one of his three fingers and his legs but only ever so slightly…a portion of the boxer’s skull is missing.” Thomas Hauser, December 25th, Christmas morning, “The left side of Magomed’s head is grotesquely misshapen.There’s a crater where part of his skull was removed during surgery. The visual effect is as if the wax had dripped away from the top of an irregularly burning candle….he breathes through a tube that has been inserted in his trachea….his eyes gaze vacantly into space….Some people would choose to not continue living under the current circumstances of Magomed’s life.” He is incapable of making decisions on his own behalf. I am not sure how different/how much progress poor Mago’s circumstances are from the Jan 12 New York Post article date until today. Rehab is at best a very very relative term in the medical world. Perhaps someone can give an update further on Mago most specifically.  Perez will have his own demons of second guessing to live with in terms of the profession that is his and as to what happen that night as no doubt will everyone from the in ring, corner to New York Athletic Commish.

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