How fitting is this, Woodsy? Today is the 15 year anniversary of Marco Barrera defeating Hamed. Right here in the MGM. April 7, 2001. The biggest night of my boxing life. And it's here I say goodbye!”
Manager Vince Caruso climbed that mountain as part of Team Barrera and he gleefully inhaled the aroma of the glory and adulation then. Glory days ceased for a spell, as he struggled through personal woes, parried an addiction to intoxicants that he needed to stare down, and did.
After some time to recoup his compass, after a lengthy spell away from the fight game, he got pulled back in. Caruso, born in New Jersey but now a devoted Left Coaster, re entered the shark tank. He aided a relative nobody, Nadjib Mohamnedi, to near a mountains peak, a title shot against Sergey Kovalev. Team Mohammedi didn't inhale fumes of ecstasy that night, as Kovalev's power decimated Mohammedi (now 37-4; from France).
The only trajectory is victory, the effervescent Caruso, an excitable and at times inflammable type, proclaimed in the lead up. Wishful thinking? Surely; those managing the underdog types need a certain amount of that, to keep themselves and their athlete engaged.
He isn't telling the fight world the same today, as Mohammedi looks to a Saturday night fight, at the MGM on the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley undercard. Mo is the underdog again, this time against 9-0 Oleksabdr Gvozdyk. He has another message…
“Woodsy, the fight I have Mohammedi in this Saturday on the Pacquiao card will be my last. I'm officially retiring from boxing for good. I accomplished what I wanted to…come back after hitting rock bottom. And I did. Now it is time to enjoy life and all the things I ignored or passed up over the years. A combo of the fact the politics are stupid and it's become a monopolized business. I had fun..did a lot. Now it's time to move on.”
What's next? Building up cricket in the USA, he said, with a former bodyguard for NWA. A lil bold, and semi whacky to some…vintage Caruso, I think.
Fare thee well, sir. For sure, the sport will be a wee bit less colorful without your presence.