Just hours after Team USA appeared to have had their final boxer eliminated from the tournament, the AIBA overturned the ringside judges (h/t FOX Sports), ruling that welterweight Errol Spence should have been awarded four more points. This gave him a 15-13 victory over India's Krishan Vikas, allowing him to stay alive and move on to the quarterfinal round to face Russia's Andrey Zamkovoy.
The unusual action by amateur boxing's international governing agency took place in the early morning hours, London time, and was, no doubt, in part inspired by what will go down in popular memory as one of the most poorly judged Games of all time.
This was just the latest in a string of controversial decisions, but it seemed particularly odious. In an echo of the notorious Roy Jones Jr. loss at the 1988 Games in Seoul, even the referee appeared visibly surprised and had to stop himself short from raising Spense's hand after Zamkovoy's name was announced as the winner.
Amazingly, this was the second fight the AIBA has found it necessary to overturn this week. On Wednesday, they overturned Magomed Abdulhaminov of Azerbaijan's 22-17 victory over Japanese bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu.
Shimizu was credited with no points during a third round in which he knocked down his opponent repeatedly.
As a lifelong boxing fan who came of age during an era when Olympic boxing was extremely prestigious, these games have at times been very tough to watch. The current scoring system is clearly a travesty and will thankfully be scrapped after these Games.
It will not be a moment too soon. The AIBA will emerge from London with a serious PR problem, and overturning a couple of particularly terrible decisions can only be viewed as far too little, way too late.
As Scott Christ of Badlefthook.com has eloquently put it in his own report tonight, "A real step isn't putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. It would be making sure he doesn't keep falling off the ledge all the time."
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