Welterweight Ken Gould brought the United States boxing team to .500 in the Olympic boxing tournament Tuesday with a 4-1 decision over a Tanzanian.
Perhaps just as important, Gould got on the right bus and arrived at the arena on time--well ahead of time, in fact--a major triumph for a U.S. boxer these days.
At mid-morning Tuesday, however, things didn't look so optimistic. An NBC camera crew was poised near the bus stop at the boxing venue, waiting to videotape Gould arriving for his bout on time, on the right bus. That hadn't happened Monday, when middleweight Anthony Hembrick did not show up on time for his fight and was scratched.
The bus that Gould was thought to be on had arrived. Several dozen boxers and coaches got off, but there was no Gould.
Oh, no! Not again!
Actually, no, not again.
It turns out that Gould had caught an earlier bus. NBC found him lying on the floor in the athletes' seating section, napping.
"We got here before the competition started today," U.S. Coach Ken Adams said.
Once in the ring, Gould, had a surprisingly tough assignment. His opponent, Joseph Marwa, was taller, longer-armed and awkward.
Gould caught a solid, short right hand on the jaw in the first round and drew a standing-8 count from the Italian referee, Aldo Leoni.
It seemed to some observers that Gould lost the first round by a thin margin, won the second by the same margin and won the third by a large margin. Nevertheless, Bulgarian judge Stoino Parlaponov scored it for Marwa, 59-58.
Gould was the winner, though, on the scorecards of judges Abdul Hani of Iraq, 59-58; Narsi M. Kishen of India, 60-57; Keith Walker of New Zealand, 59-58, and Osvaldo Bisbal of Argentina, 58-57.
It wasn't pretty. Gould, even at the top of his game, is not a classic amateur boxer. He frequently grabs and holds opponents and wins most of his bouts by piling up points with rapid-fire combinations to the body.
So for the most part, Gould-Malwa was an ugly dance. It was almost all grabbing, holding and stumbling. Malwa often grabbed Gould around the neck--a violation--but was not warned about it.
In the home stretch, Gould's superior conditioning paid off. He landed half a dozen scoring blows in the last 15 seconds, most of them in a flurry to the body. He also landed a backhand, which Leoni also ignored.
"It was a sloppy bout," Gould said later.
"I couldn't get used to his awkward style. I couldn't get comfortable with him. He was wild and strong. I felt stronger in the third round than he was. He got pretty tired."
Gould's father, Nate, was in the bleachers, waving a small American flag. He let out a whoop when the decision was announced.
In Wednesday's bouts, U.S. light-flyweight Michael Carbajal will make his Olympic debut against South Korean Oh Kwang-Su in the morning session, and flyweight Arthur Johnson, who won Sunday, will box Bishnubahadur Singh of India.
Canada lost a protest Tuesday, one it thought it had won Monday.
On Sunday, in a wild bout, Canadian featherweight Jamie Pagendam was knocked down once in the second round, then climbed off the floor and knocked down his Mongolian opponent, Tserendorj Amarjargol. After that, Ivory Coast referee Joseph Lougbo had two standing-8 counts against the Mongolian, the second of which should have terminated the bout, according to international rules.
In the third round, however, Pagendam was rocked by a punch to the head, and Lougbo stopped the bout, awarding the Mongolian the win.
Canada protested, contending that Pagendam had actually won the bout in the second round. The protest was upheld, and the Amateur International Boxing Assn. announced that the referee was benched for the rest of the Games.
But on Tuesday morning, the Canadians were informed that although Pagendam goes down as the winner of the bout, he cannot continue in the tournament for medical reasons. According to association rules, fighters whose bouts are stopped because of head blows may not fight again for 60 days.