Moral Culpability: Part One

By Ted Sares on January 4, 2014
Moral Culpability: Part One
This is about my moral culpability and if you can take something from it, all the better.

The last thing I am is naïve and I sure as hell am not trying to play the blame game here or lay a guilt trip on anyone (except myself)…

“Some people in boxing have been to see me, though not that many. I can’t help feeling I’ve been forgotten.”—Paul Ingle

“This is so wrong. I thought [Frankie] Leal was going to die the night he fought Gradovich, but he kept going and going until this. RIP.”—Bruce Trampler tweet, according to

“There’s no quit in Tapia, maybe someone needs to quit for him.”—Max Kellerman

“Boxing is the only sport in which the objective is to render blows to the head and body of the opponent so as the cause the opponent to be incapacitated.”—Calvin Inalsingh, Head of the WBA medical advisory board

The last thing I am is naïve and I sure as hell am not trying to play the blame game here or lay a guilt trip on anyone (except myself). There are enough stomach-turning hypocrites in and around the boxing establishment who can do that while sitting on their “moralistic” high horses.  This is about my moral culpability and if you can take something from it, all the better.

My affinity for boxing has endured through thick and thin—through scandals and tragedies, but it continues to be sorely strained by the tolerance of designated and/or professional losers like Marcus Rhode (35-49-1 with 42 KO losses), Bheki Moyo (0-64-2), Alexander Manea (0-54), Kristian Laight (7-166-7), and Gabor Balogh (3-109-5), all of whom are adept at bailing out of a fight at just the right time. Witnessing David Haye play the fans while playing on-again off-again games with his career doesn’t much help. And I am repulsed by a sport that allows an aging and bloated James Toney or a totally shot Marteze Logan, Shakka Moore, Ruben Williams or Jimmy LeBlanc to fight, or that permits Antwun Echols or Owen Beck to be served up as sacrificial lambs. Scheming and conspiring managers and promoters seem to rationalize this by saying, “Sure, it’s wrong, but it’s the way it’s done and there is no other way.” See “Naked Sport: Welcome to the Sewer

I am taken back by a sport that makes halfhearted and token efforts to provide benefits for its combatants, provides a platform for the malfeasance of unqualified judges, celebrates out-of-shape referees who allow fights to last dangerously long, and tolerates writers who insult the intelligence of serious fans by trying to rationalize blatant conflicts of interest. I am especially nauseated by supposedly grown-up “journalists” who engage in cyber catfights, petty jealousies, and shameless sycophantic behavior, overlooking the fact that the boxers are the primary story and that journalists are only there because humble and accommodating boxers are happy to talk to them and allow them entry into their lives. See:

Ring Tragedies

On a more serious note, I am repelled by a sport that largely ignored the needless deaths of Frankie Leal in Mexico on October 26, 2013 and 17-year-old Tubagus Sakti in Jakarta on January 27, 2013. Assuming all precautions were in place, I can usually rationalize ring fatalities, but these two cannot be rationalized under any circumstances; they were both needless.

And like so many others, I was shaken by the terrible damage suffered in plain sight by Magomed Abdusalamov against Mike Perez on November 2, 2013. When these things happen, I am quick to talk the talk and say “may the Lord help him” or “May he R.I.P.” But do I stop to think about what these words really mean? Do I head over to the church, put some money in the box, light a candle, and kneel down and pray for Magomed; do I take the time to put a check in the mail to help Frankie’s family? Do I walk the walk?

I am deeply concerned when boxers are severely damaged. Men like Mago, Z Gorres, Victor Burgos (who thankfully seems to be doing better) and Oscar Diaz, but then, over a period of time, I tend to forget them. Will Oscar Diaz be forgotten like Paul Ingle? Maybe I assume that they will be all right, but that assumption is mostly fallacious. They will never be all right; they will never be as they once were. Not when they may have to relearn how to talk and walk; not when they have to undergo weeks and months of grueling therapy to re-strengthen and condition their muscles to help them regain the ability to do simple functional activities. Mago may be a case in point. He is reportedly undergoing rehab at the Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, NY.  He is no longer comatose, can open his eyes and can breathe on his own. Thankfully, the doctor said he is going to get better, but he will not be the same.

In this regard, watching a brave Glen Tapia take an unnecessary and scary beating in Atlantic City because others were “braver” makes my moral compass wobble as it struggles to find the right direction.

Ring tragedies are a part of boxing; they are inevitable. But if I support and collude in something that inevitably leads to tragedy, it seems to me I will somehow need to reconcile my moral culpability in that collusion.

Watch for Part Two

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

2013-10-19 Raul Hirales vs Francisco Leal

In Memory of Tubagus Sakti - His Last Fight Against Ical Tobida

2013.11.02. Майк Перез-- Магомед Абдусаламов Mike Perez--Magomed Abdusalamov

R.I.P 17-Year-Old Indonesian Boxer Collapses While Fighting In The Ring After Brain Hemorrhage!

Vic Darchinyan - Jose Victor Burgos

Oscar Diaz Recovery Update - UTHSCSA Neurosurgery - FOX 29

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  1. Ted 07:41pm, 01/10/2014

    Sadly,  Japanese super flyweight Tesshin Okada (0-1) passed away Monday due to a brain hemorrhage suffered in his professional debut on a December 20th card against Masafumi Kamiyama (1-0, 1 KO), who was also making his pro debut. Okada was stopped 22 seconds into the fourth and final round. He was 21 years old.

  2. Ted 08:05pm, 01/09/2014

    I will not collude in this

  3. Ted 01:20pm, 01/07/2014

    From twitter but I don’t use it myself. Just look at what some of these morons put on it.

  4. kid vegas 10:36am, 01/07/2014

    Where you getting this stuff, Ted?

  5. Larry Link 09:40am, 01/07/2014


  6. Thresher 06:42pm, 01/06/2014

    “Journalist” Ray Markarian carried all of Andre Ward’s belts recently. Mighty strange stuff. Suppose Borges carried Floyd’s belts into the ring?

  7. Thresher 06:33pm, 01/06/2014

    The guy who seen holding Andre Ward’s title belt on TV and being a cheerleader is a member of the BWAA. So much for integrity..

  8. Ted 03:39pm, 01/06/2014

    Welcome Phil!

  9. mike 02:50pm, 01/06/2014

    Buy my book on rocky’s unknown event,who realy built the statue etc…
    also available on amazon!
    LUBEK’S THREELOGY, THE SWEET SCIENCE 2: - Jan Lubek : Trafford Book
    go under desktop ver

  10. Philip H. Anselmo 01:59pm, 01/06/2014

    I am arrived Ted!
    Thanks for helping Dmitry!!!!!!
    Keep up the good fight Ted!!!!
    PHA ‘13

  11. Ted 08:35am, 01/05/2014

    Thank you so much Peter.

  12. peter 08:19am, 01/05/2014

    We all whisper to ourselves the same misgivings about being so deeply involved in this horrible/wonderful sport. This was a fine article, and it inspired many fine comments after reading it. It also inspired a few of us to dip into ours pockets and write a check.

  13. Ted 08:15pm, 01/04/2014

    A link on how to donate to Mago or others

  14. Ted 08:00pm, 01/04/2014

    Meinhard, I touch on Katsisdis’ s comeback in Part Two.It’s a bad mistake and a dangerous one.

  15. Ted 07:57pm, 01/04/2014

    That’s a tough call Irish. I need to think on that one. As for all of us, I am only speaking for myself but I take your point and it makes a lot of sense.

    I am a pretty religious person (though I tend to hide that sometimes) and I have a hard time squaring this with my religious beliefs—not to mention medical and moral grounds but I am getting ahead of myself. Watch for Part Two.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:52pm, 01/04/2014

    We’re all morally culpable…..and guess what….so is Mike Perez….he landed illegal low blows throughout the fight, damaged Mago by both leading with his head and following his bent elbow shots with his head and his shoulders….shots that intentionally brought his forearm and elbow in contact with Mago’s face….he’s a short armed heavyweight….. I doubt if his has a 72 inch reach…..and yes he adopted that style in order to contend with larger and longer pro heavyweights….and yes you can say the referee didn’t enforce the rules so it was on him….but you can’t say that Perez isn’t morally culpable too.

  17. Your Name 07:49pm, 01/04/2014

    Tex, ES and John, three old buddies. Great to see you here and yes Tex, your name is on the Ring 10 donor wall.

  18. Ted 07:47pm, 01/04/2014

    Thanks Peter for your thoughtful post

  19. Peter Silkov 04:24pm, 01/04/2014

    Yet another thought provoking piece Ted! Keep them coming!.  I agree that it can be very bitter sweet to have boxing in your blood, sometimes it could be much simpler to want to go to football matches every week instead but that would just drive me mad after a while I think.  Seriously though I was more or less ringside when Micheal Watson was injured against Chris Eubank, and I walked away that night really questioning everything about my feelings for boxing and whether or not I could ever watch another fight.  In the end I couldn’t keep away.  There’s been lots of tragedies since then, far too many, but I still feel that the problem is’nt the boxers, or boxing itself, but rather the people that run it.  Fights are allowed to go on too long, fighters are allowed to box on when they are plainly ready for retirement, and too many boxers are sent out without the basic skills to defend themselves.  Boxers like Mayweather and Rigo are called boring, but a lot of fighters could do a lot to protect their health by picking up some of the tricks of these two ‘boring’ guys.  Many of the fans are at fault too, I wonder if Mago had retired in about the 7th round of his fight how long it would take for some wise ass to start calling him a quitter.  I only wish he had been pulled out, hindsight is wonderful I know but you didn’t need an x-ray machine that night to see that he had picked up some kind of injury that was bad enough to validate pulling him out.  We almost got a repeat in the Kirkland vs Tapia fight, luckily that wasnt so competitive as Mago vs Perez, otherwise it could have been the same story.  I think there needs to be better trainers in corners, somebody should be training the trainers in many cases I fear.  There also needs to be more appreciation of the sweet science and that boxing was at one time supposed to be about the art of self defence, rather than taking as many punches as you can without falling down.  I also think there must be some kind of health and insurance plans for fighters if they get injured and some kind of pension scheme.  I guess this is whistling in the wind a bit but you’ve got me thinking here Ted! thinking and rambling!.

  20. Tex Hassler 04:13pm, 01/04/2014

    I did more than pray for or think about Magomed, I sent a check to Ring 10 to help with his medical expenses and I hope some of you will also.

  21. es 04:06pm, 01/04/2014

    Ted Sares…..surreal. What can I say. I love Ted Sares.

  22. John 03:43pm, 01/04/2014

    Right on, Ted! I can tell this one came from the heart. Years ago, I remember interviewing Lupe Aquino who was making a comeback in the UFC. Bad investments, child support, and alimony payments were forcing him to make money in the only way he knew how - by fighting. A sad case. Boxing is an unforgiving “sport” and I could easily argue a case for it being banned.

  23. Ted 02:07pm, 01/04/2014

    FCW, Bingo. You can’t do an “expose” on PEDs and at the same time show a lack of maturity in your own behavior. It’s an issue of credibility. You get guys challenging each other to a fight and then you are supposed to respect them as mature reporters? Say what?

    But it goes much deeper than this because these same “journalists” have a major say in who goes into the IBHOF. And while I have had no issues with their recent inductions, I have a major issue with the process and methodology. One more reason why I am struggling with this entire sport.

  24. FightClubWriter 01:57pm, 01/04/2014

    I can’t wait for part 2 Ted. I’d like to say that certain people involved in the boxing media need to be smashed to bits like the cockroaches they are. You have some that say they want to clean up the sport and yet they affiliate themselves with some of the most dirty and vile people out there. It’s time for those cockroaches to be exterminated and it’s up to the readers/fans to do it. The readers must educate themselves on what is right and wrong in this sport. They can’t let people tell them what to think then repeat it on message boards and social media. The days of erotic poets and couch surfing celebrity chasers “trying to clean up the sport” must come to an end and the readers must hold them accountable for their lack of ethics.

  25. Ted 01:53pm, 01/04/2014

    Pete, I keep revising Part Two based on new stuff that I read. Right now I’m into some deep philosophical stuff about the morality of boxing by our own Gordon Marino. He is a very smart man.

    But I am teetering and seething. Those our the two words that can best describe my current feelings.

  26. Ted 01:51pm, 01/04/2014

    The incredible thing is that you can actually see what they put on twitter and it is mind boggling One guys who is a journalist is seen holding Andre Ward’s title belt and being a cheerleader. So much for his neutrality.

    The obscenities on these accounts that can be seen by anyone are frankly embarrassing. How can some one who professes to have writing credentials tweet about his sexual conquests? I cite the link, but Larry Link would get PO’d.

    As for the erotic poet, that stuff is just plain sickening.

  27. Paul Magno 01:38pm, 01/04/2014

    Preach on Brother Ted! This sport is full of thieves on the business end and sissy know-nothings on the writing end, who facilitate all the crap that happens in the sport…While these so-called journalists and investigative bloggers are busy arguing on social media, creating parody Twitter accounts, and joining fraternal orders of like-minded idiots, the real scandals and tragedies are going unreported…They don’t report because, in reality, they don’t really KNOW what to report…Their expertise is based solely on what the TV has told them…And, yeah, the erotic poet is the worst of the lot—as rancid and as compromised as a Tijuana strip club buffet…

  28. Pete The Sneak 01:18pm, 01/04/2014

    Toro, some very thought provoking stuff, man. Sometimes, I too wonder about my beloved sport and… oh well, I’ll leave it alone. Perhaps I too may comment further after reviewing your follow up article…Peace.

  29. Ted 11:53am, 01/04/2014

    Yes, he was from Chicago and his death shook the entire city.

  30. chuck h. 11:46am, 01/04/2014

    Written 11/23/09 : “I witnessed the Francisco Rodriguez-Teon Kennedy match at the Blue Horizon (11/20/09) on Friday night. I want his family and his fans in Chicago to know I have never seen a more gallant warrior. He gave one of the most thrilling performances ever seen in a Philadelphia ring. His will to win will never be forgotten by me or any of the crowd who saw it.
    He was badly hurt in the first round but fought back viciously in the second to turn the tide in his favor. No matter how hard Teon tagged him or hurt him, Francisco would rally back and take the play away from him. Going into the 10th round, Francisco was ahead and amazed the hardened Philly audience with his doggedness and willpower. He was always trying to rally and turn the tide back in his favor, up to the last seconds, when the fight was stopped. Just an amazing performance of the human will but then such a tragic ending for such a brave and gallant man.”
    Francisco Rodriguez died on 11/22/09 in a Phila. hospital.

  31. Ted 11:38am, 01/04/2014

    Kid, yeah, I am very, very pissed off at a lot of things about boxing that all came to a head this past week. And I am getting very discouraged which I will touch upon in Part Two. It’s not like I don’t have choices. .

    Big Walter, you are spot on.

  32. Big Walter 11:13am, 01/04/2014

    Why do I think Part One will be mild compared to Part Two?

  33. kid vegas 10:53am, 01/04/2014

    Oh oh, I can always tell when you are pissed off. I pity the recipient. That said, I also sense that you might be getting really discouraged. I hope not because we need people like you to tell the truth and fight the establishment. You help provide some check on a runaway train that really does lack moralitry.

  34. gordon marino 10:51am, 01/04/2014

    Yes, let’s keep those furrowed brows. I talked with Margulis last night at the fights and he said Mago has a little speech back and some movement. That was one disaster that should not have happened.
    I’m hoping that people will stop thinking of the Gatti-Ward type fights as the prototypes for good bouts.

    Have not been following the Ortega Montoya stuff.

    all the best!

  35. Thresher 10:38am, 01/04/2014

    Good post Gordon. My aim is to keep those furrowed brows for longer than usual. And when you juxtapose such a tragedy with the juvenile and even quasi-kinky behavior of BWAA writers Ortega and Montoya (also an erotic poet), the bile quickly rises to the top. This is the thing that really gets to me. They should be reporting and/or writing on things that really matter rather than threatening to Borges slap each other.

  36. gordon marino 10:23am, 01/04/2014

    Ring tragedies are inevitable - but the ones of late have been very avoidable. I don’t think we are culpable if we try to change the sport and also try to help those who have been injured. There is always a lot of furrowed brows for a few days and then the Mago’s of the boxing world are forgotten.

    Another very thoughtful piece Ted. Thanks.

  37. From Scott Russll 10:21am, 01/04/2014

    Hi Ted,
        Speaking of Mago, and my understanding is that it unlikely that he’ll ever be able to walk again and most likely never be able to speak, please be free to share the following to everyone in the boxing community.  Mago, has, of course, been moved to a rehab facility.  Emotional, financial or even best wishes can be forwarded to his wife at:  Bakanay Abdusalamov, 836 Mill Hill Terrace, Southport, Ct. 06890.  Mago’s wife, Bakanay and their children are currently staying with family to be close to Mago.  Oh, once more, you are one terrific writer!
                                                                                                                            Be Well,                                                                                                                        Scott Russell
                                                                                                                            author of “Joey”

  38. Meinhard Schmidt 08:33am, 01/04/2014

    yesterday i read on esb that michael katsidis just signed a two year contract. so sad.

  39. Ted 07:20am, 01/04/2014


  40. Robert Ecksel 07:16am, 01/04/2014

    Whatever happened to good old-fashioned pissing contests?

  41. Ted 07:13am, 01/04/2014

    Robert, hahahahahahah. No, not that one, I forgot about that particular day in infamy. The one I refer to is between the erotic poet Gabe Montoya and his BWAA brother Mark Ortega. Actually, I think Mark would have cleaned Gabe’s pathetic clock. Both guys together weigh about 109 pounds .

  42. Larry Link 07:09am, 01/04/2014

    “James Kirkland’s sixth round TKO of Glen Tapia could’ve been yet another tragic night for the sport. And, make no mistake about it, we’re lucky it wasn’t. Ref Steve Smoger and ringside physician, Blair Bergen may have let things go too long, but what Tapia’s trainer Alex Devia did was absolutely reprehensible.

    “Devia, who runs the Garden State School of Boxing in Pasaaic, NJ, pushed his fighter–a young, 23-year-old kid– into the jaws of death, for no other apparent reason than ego. By the end of the fourth round, it was quite apparent that this fight was not winnable for Tapia, yet Devia would insist on going forward.

    “With his kid unresponsive in his corner, spent and bloody and hanging on by sheer strength of character, Devia refused to consider pulling his kid from the fight. Instead, he would put Tapia into a position where he’d have to stop his own fight in order to save himself– in front of the HBO cameras, his family, and the small army of fans he brought to the Boardwalk Hall with him. Instead of taking care of his kid, Devia shamed him into fighting on. Tapia would’ve died rather than give, up– and he almost did.

    “Supporters of Devia will swear that he is a solid, caring individual with only Tapia’s best interests in mind. If so, this all may may have been a momentary lapse in judgment. In any case, though, Devia’s performance during the Tapia-Kirkland bout was boxing’s ethical low point of the year.”

  43. Robert Ecksel 07:08am, 01/04/2014

    I’m out of the loop insofar as the BWAA is concerned. The latest challenge escaped my glance. You’re not referring to Ron Borges slapping Mike Katz in the face, are you? That’s old school, or old news, relatively speaking. Who’s throwing their weight around nowadays?

  44. Thresher 07:01am, 01/04/2014

    I could not agree more, Gutter. Two BWAA members challenging each other to a boxing match is as low as it can get. Don’t these jerks realize that nobody gets two craps about them.

  45. Thresher 06:56am, 01/04/2014

    Part Two will not be politically correct. That I can truly guarantee. No more MR. Nice Guy in 2014. I’m totally sick of the garbage that’s going on out there, especially with much of the self-serving media. Put on your safety belts, Irish, I’m going to rock ‘n’ roll.

  46. Gutterdandy 06:52am, 01/04/2014

    Ted: excellent work overall.  I think one can of worms the Internet opened (aside from ruining education—ask any teacher—the music business, the film industry, and other things) is the phenomenon of the “instant expert” boxing writer, who gets him or herself into an event, gets a few snapshots taken with a couple of boxers or trainers, and then gets the idea that it’s all about him/her, instead of about the sport and the people who risk their lives to participate in it.

    As you point out, that is a very revolting development.  Professionalism often seems a thing of the distant past.  And of course, even those who work in “old school media” are not immune: witness a plagiarist like Ron Borges with his tiresome, nasty attacks on the classy Klitschko brothers. 

    Anyway, very good work—and yes, we should never forget about the Magomeds and others who gave up the lives they knew for something far more terrifying, or just plain gave up their lives, to “entertain” us.  But sadly, many of us will do just that: forget about them.

  47. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:51am, 01/04/2014

    Everything single thing you contribute to is top drawer and is done with heart. I’ll wait for part two before I post how I really feel about this whole thing because it definitely won’t be politically correct.

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