Quitting wasn’t an option for Max Dadashev
By Bill Tibbs
Saturday night, as newly minted welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao was putting on a brilliant, age-defying ring display, (formerly undefeated) Russian, super lightweight prospect Maxim Dadshev was laying in a hospital trauma unit recovering from a tough, rugged 11 rounds that he had just endured at the hands of rock hard Puerto Rican boxer Subriel Matias the night before in a tough bout in Maryland.
He is in the toughest fight of his life and his future is uncertain. After the fight, Dadashev was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with swelling of the brain. He then underwent a 2-hour surgery to treat a subdural hematoma and doctors had to remove a section of his skull to relieve pressure from the swelling; Dadashev remains in a medically induced coma
Both fighters had a lot on the line. They were both undefeated and a win was going to inch them towards a title shot sooner than later. For both fighters, who were dreaming of bettering their current life situation with the kind of money that comes with championship level paydays, this fight was huge. In these kinds of fights you will do anything to win, anything to stay in the fight, anything to payback your team and promoters who have invested time and money into you, showing them you were time and money well spent. There is a lot on the line.
For a real fighter, quitting, under any circumstances, isn’t an option.
In short, a fighter will do anything to stay in the fight and will never say they willingly quit or agree to the dream being (perhaps only temporarily) extinguished with their blessing. No, in those tough situations, it is the corners job to stop the fight, make that decision for the fighter, who as a real fighter, is usually incapable of agreeing to saying ‘no more’.
On Friday night, former world champion, and Dadashev trainer, James “Buddy” McGirt did exactly as he was supposed to do and that is stop the bout before his charge took anymore un-needed punishment in a fight that in reality he was not going to turn around.
Boxing is the theatre of the unexpected and on nights where things aren’t going your way, there is always the hope of the landing that one shot that grabs a victory from the jaws of defeat. But, in reality, those days are rare and it is trainer’s job to assess if there is even a remote possibility of that scenario playing out; usually there isn’t.
Dadashev is a strong and talented prospect but in 13 previous bouts hadn’t faced the tenacity and aggression that Matias would bring. The relentless Matias had battered him for most of the fight and the thunderous body shots had weakened the Saint Petersburg, Russia-born Dadashev; once the hard head shots started to land McGirt knew it was time to call it a day.
I read a tweet today from one of my favorite writers, ESPN’s Steve Kim. And, boy did he hit the nail on the head.
“As we move onto the next week of boxing, I hope that moving forward that ‘going the distance’ is no longer used as a barometer of a morale victory by trainers and corner men. Buddy McGirt pulling Dadashev when he did should be a lesson to all”.
Well said K-9!
I suppose it does look a little bit better on your record when people see that you didn’t lose by stoppage. You will earn some, ‘wow, is he ever tough’ comments. But, those compliments often come at a high price. There is never any glory or glamour in proving to the paying public that you were tough enough to absorb inhumane amounts of punishment in a contest that you had absolutely no, or realistically very little, chance of winning.
The minute Dadashev, or any fighter, steps through the ropes they have answered any questions about bravery.
Defensive wizards like the great Pernell Whitaker, who we sadly just lost, boxed in a way that saw them receive little, if any, real punishment in a fight and nobody ever questioned their bravery.
Hall of Fame fighter McGirt understood that moral victories that often come at a huge cost are hollow consolation in a losing effort.
Fighters, real fighters, never want to quit, never want to give in, it isn’t what they do. So, they need people around them who will do the stopping for them. Fighters need that second set of objective eyes from the people in their corner – people like Buddy McGirt.
Maxim Dadshev is a fighter to the core and I am hopeful that it is that fighter’s will and bravery that will see him through his next tough battle to a full and complete recovery. Dadashev would never quit in a tough spot and he isn’t about to start now.
I am looking forward to a fully recovered and healthy Dadashev being able to thank his coach, Buddy McGirt, for his compassionate, professional and astute handling of the corner on Friday night.
I am looking forward to Dadashev being able to tell his children what a great fighter he was as an amateur and what a great run he had as a pro.
And, tonight, I am praying for Maxim Dadashev.
Editors note: Max Dadashev died Tuesday morning, July 23. He was 28. We at maxboxing extend our deepest condolences to the Dadashev family.