What’s the Olympics all about, Charly?By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THERE was only one fight, only one official result, but there were two sets of contrasting reports.
Filipino Charly Suarez dropped his bout against China’s Liu Quiang, 11-15, in the lightweight final of the Asian Qualifying Event in Astana, Kazakhstan, over the weekend.
On Sunday, the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) sent out its version of the bout. The report also sounded like a letter of complaint:
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“In an inexplicable turn of events, Charly Suarez lost a fight that saw him practically mangle Liu Quiang of China in the finals of the Asian Olympic Qualifying Event. The crowd, made up mostly of Kazakhs and other participating nationalities, howled in protest as the score for Quiang was announced. Members of the PLDT-Abap team were approached by dozens of spectators, coaches, managers, boxers from various countries to say they believed Suarez won it. The stadium resounded with wild chants of “Charly, Charly!” from the multinational crowd.”
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The Abap report from the fight site was received by various media outlets in Manila, but was not used by the major dailies.
Actually, reporters from the major dailies went out of their way and followed the bout live on the Internet.
“The decision was mind-boggling, Charly beat that guy up in the third, delivered the more powerful punches throughout, but the judges saw it otherwise,” said delegation head Ed Picson, Abap executive director. “But that’s how it is with subjective judging. The big crowd saw it differently though and expressed their displeasure in no uncertain terms.”
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Marc Anthony Reyes of the Inquirer saw it his way:
“Suarez was indeed great in the earlier goings. But against Liu Quiang, he dropped his form and went on the defensive in the opening round. Liu wisely used his jabs to fend Suarez off in the next round to finish with an even bigger margin. In the last round, Charly decided to ramp things up, busting Liu’s nose and staggering him by the ropes for a mandatory eight count. Suarez lost.”
There’s no need for blood.
If you ask reporter Reyes, he would tell you that, in Olympic boxing, a knockdown or a standing eight is worth only a single point. It’s the impact punches, often soundless but connected precisely and unhampered, that count most.
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So, did Suarez lose fair and square or was the Filipino hope cheated?
For the record, Suarez started out for the Abap in the current Olympic quest as a full-fledged featherweight.
He had had some poundage problems, but soon started to settle and feel cozy in his chosen division. Unfortunately, his original division was scratched out of the Olympic calendar, thereby leaving the Abap with no choice but to field him as a lightweight.
In Astana, Suarez, 5 feet 7, was doing great until he ran smack into that all-revealing reality check against the 5-foot-10 Liu, a veteran with the China squad.
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Charly indeed had the power, the skills and the build, but he lacked the required inches to succeed in the division he was dumped into.
Of course, it’s unfair to blame the Abap for not ensuring that the country would be solidly represented in this year’s Olympics.
If the Abap could be faulted, it’s in having allowed itself to be deluded that the Olympic quest could be fast-tracked.
Blame this on the successful stints in regional events, like the Asiad in China and the two prior Southeast Asian Games, after which the Abap president was overheard swearing they would be going out for the gold in London.
When the new Abap first started its grassroots and junior programs two years ago, it had its eyes on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
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