The Memory Bank: Part Seventeen

By Ted Sares on October 31, 2012
The Memory Bank: Part Seventeen
Undefeated Randie Carver met roughhousing Kabary Salem at Harrah’s North Kansas City.

“You could see it in his eyes,” Salem’s manager, Scott Massoud said. “It was just a stare; a stare into nowhere…”

“Oh, God…Oh, my God. I’m speechless…My thoughts and wishes go out to him and his family. God, what a loss.”—Scott Massoud, Kabary Salem’s manager

“The most powerful argument I’ve ever heard for the banning of boxing is the insistence by Missouri’s regulators that everything was done correctly by the officials in that bout. If that were true I’d say shut it down, I’ll go watch ping-pong for the rest of my life. But I don’t believe it. I think that the hovering storm of potential lawsuits has the state agency covering its broad, vulnerable, and culpable butt.”—Katherine Dunn (CBZ)

“Let’s extend the 5-minute rule to include head butts. If that slows down the fight, then we have a problem. There should never be so many head butts that it does slow down a fight.”—Chris Strait, “A Foul Hypocrisy,” Convicted Artist Magazine (April 2011)

Remembering Randie (1978-1999)

Randie “The Natural” Carver was somewhat of a rarity in that he was a very fine boxer from the heartland—Kansas City, Missouri to be exact. He signaled what was to come by winning the 1993 National Golden Gloves Middleweight Championship and then went undefeated in his first 24 professional outings. Most of his fights took place in Kansas City where he was a great fan favorite, though bigger venues and better paydays were on the near horizon. In May 1999, he captured the NABF Super Middleweight Title by decisioning William Bo James at Harrah’s in Kansas City. Four months later, he met roughhousing Kabary “The Egyptian Magician” Salem (11-1), also at Harrah’s. Salem’s reputation for serial extracurricular ring activity highlighted by head-butting preceded him.

In a foul-filled televised bout that was marred by head-butts and holding by Kabary, an atypically exhausted Carver was overwhelmed and finally stopped in Round 10. He then lapsed into unconsciousness. The stoppage came following an overhand right and a straight left from Salem. Randie attempted several times to get up, but could not even make it to his knees as he suffered his first career defeat. “You could see it in his eyes,” Salem’s manager, Scott Massoud said. “It was just a stare; a stare into nowhere.” Paramedics worked intensely on Carver for about 20 minutes before rushing him to the hospital, but he never regained consciousness.

Things would become dire as family, friends and fans huddled at North Kansas City Hospital where, after undergoing brain surgery, the popular and beloved Randie was kept on life support until he died three days later. According to the Kansas City Medical Examiner, the 24-year-old Carver died of “blunt head trauma.” 

Some felt the Salem fight should have been stopped via disqualification of Randie’s less-than-highly-skilled but tough opponent, while still others seemed to feel that referee Ross Strada did everything he could to prevent the fatal outcome. Most importantly, the Missouri regulators considered everything hunky dory insofar as how things had been handled. Now that’s what some felt and that’s what the regulators said.

However, many like me who saw this legal mugging on Fox Sports Network viewed it as just that—a back alley mugging in which Carver was battered by Salem’s constant holding and multiple head-butts, several of which appeared to be intentional. Salem was in fact penalized two points for holding early in the fight, but aside from that, the Brooklyn-based “Magician” from Egypt appeared to be getting away with far more damaging fouls. Incredibly, his head-butts seemed to be treated more casually than his holding and grappling.

It’s not for me to make legal judgments here, nor am I about to expound on egregious behavior in the ring. I know what I witnessed on September 12, 1999 and that’s enough for me.

Curiously, in a later 2004 losing effort against Mario Veit, Kabary Salem was penalized two points in Round 5 for intentional head-butting. Then, in Round 7 of this same bout, he broke the referee’s nose after the two clashed heads accidently.  Salem was retired one year later by Lucian Bute via a TKO when Salem quit on his stool—this coming after he had lost a 12-round UD to Joe Calzaghe in which The Magician was again penalized one point in Round 3 for intentional head-butting. Calzaghe won going away but was hardly compelling and even got dropped in the 4th. Salem’s final mark was 23-5

In the end, this is about remembering a pleasant, humble kid who may well have been the finest boxer ever to come out of Kansas City. He was a shining star, and well on his way to being a serious contender.  If only we could go back in time and rewind the clock. If only.

Postscript: Carver’s mother, Barbara Carver, later sued the referee for allegedly failing to protect her son from “frequent and repeated head-butts.” Specifically, the suit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court names Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino, promoter America Presents, referee Ross Strada, ringside physician Michael Poppa and trainer-manager George Smith (CNN/Sports Illustrated: “Mother of boxer sues casino” dated February, 17, 2000). I have never learned the outcome of this action.

The Memory Bank: Part One
The Memory Bank: Part Two
The Memory Bank: Part Three
The Memory Bank: Part Four
The Memory Bank: Part Five
The Memory Bank: Part Six
The Memory Bank: Part Seven
The Memory Bank: Part Eight
The Memory Bank: Part Nine
The Memory Bank: Part Ten
The Memory Bank: Part Eleven
The Memory Bank: Part Twelve
The Memory Bank: Part Thirteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fourteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fifteen
The Memory Bank: Part Sixteen
The Memory Bank: Part Seventeen

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Joe Calzaghe Gets DROPPED By Kabary Salem w/Pre-Fight Antics

LUCIAN BUTE vs KABARY SALEM 8th round, 16.09.2005

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  1. Kid Blast 06:24am, 05/09/2015

    Thanks Cybil. How soon we forget.

  2. cybil foreman 09:05pm, 05/08/2015

    Randie’s mother Barb worked for me for many years. I consider the family to be personal friends of mine. What that man got away with in the ring that September day was nothing shirt of murder and it forever changed Barbara and the entire Carver family. Senseless…

  3. Tex Hassler 02:39pm, 11/06/2012

    I agree that head butting is a vile, dirty tactic. After a warning for one head but a referee should stop the fight and award the non head butter a win.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 07:14am, 11/03/2012

    Why in the fcuk do you think Salem in the past and Ward and Bradley in the present keep “clean heads”....the better to butt you my child!

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 06:33am, 11/03/2012

    All hail the Memory Bank! Still I don’t think much of the blurb under the Calzaghe video frame above….Joe did it all but he disappointed his fans in the end by not taking Hopkins back to Wales and wailing the shit out of him….could have saved us all a lot of grief in the meantime!

  6. the thresher 03:37pm, 11/01/2012

    EL PERRO!!! IS BACK!!!! November 10 Staples Center!!

  7. raxman 03:17pm, 11/01/2012

    loving the memory bank. i don’t know which i like more the ones that predate my coming to the sport (and in some instances my existence on the planet) or the ones that i remember or more to the point am reminded of - luckily i don’t have to choose. keep em coming ted!

  8. the thresher 08:55am, 11/01/2012

    Chris Strait, “A Foul Hypocrisy,” Convicted Artist Magazine (April 2011) is an interesting read and take on this issue.

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 07:05am, 11/01/2012

    Head butting in boxing is a vile, dirty tactic and is every bit as egregious as loaded gloves. Andre Ward has perfected the accidental butt to a pure science and it’s all good with boxing enthusiasts as long as he wins and they can orgasm over his skill set. He beat Dawson’s ass for sure, but in the process he “accidentally” head butted Chad too, although it was superfluous…I guess he just couldn’t help himself….but hey it’s all good…..because he’s “old school”...right…and dirty as fcuk.

  10. dollarbond 06:24am, 11/01/2012

    Another very sobering article that keeps things in perspective and reminds us of just how dangerous boxing can be.

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