Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 OLYMPICS: Warren Suffers Devastating Loss

BEIJING (Aug. 12) - While Lee Ok-sung got his glove fixed with 35 seconds left, Rau'Shee Warren turned in his neutral corner and searched for a clear voice in the cacophony of shouted advice.
Warren swore he heard somebody in the stands yelling "Move! Move!", meaning the world champion flyweight had the lead and should simply avoid getting punched to win. His coaches were screaming the opposite message from their ringside seats, because Warren actually trailed 9-8 and needed to attack.
In a painfully perfect illustration of what might be the U.S. boxing team's biggest problem, Warren listened to what he thought his friends, family or teammates were telling him. It cost him a chance at the medal he waited four years to hang around his mother's neck.
Warren spent the final moments of his second Olympics with his gloves at his waist Tuesday night, dancing in a pointless circle around the South Korean former world champion.
The stunning loss - and the head-scratching way it ended - crushed the first two-time American boxing Olympian in 30 years.
"It doesn't feel real," Warren said, pulling up his red tank top to dry his tears. "I didn't feel like I lost the fight, because I was fighting hard, doing everything the coaches were telling me. To get this far and then lose, I don't even know what happened."
After losing his first fight in Athens as a raw 17-year-old light flyweight, Warren declined pro boxing's riches and stuck around the amateur game solely for a trip to Beijing and his desire to present gold to his mother, Paulette. Instead, he got eight minutes of action capped by 35 seconds of awful confusion.
Warren didn't even know he had lost until he heard the news from U.S. coach Dan Campbell. He threw his headgear in disgust before the tears rolled, though he later apologized for being "unsportsmanlike."

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