There is no escaping the reality that the United States amateur boxing scene is a shell of what it once was. Errol Spence will be the one silver lining for Team USA from London 2012.
The welterweight represents the Untied States' last hope at a medal. The Americans are facing a complete shutout if Spence doesn't come through. It would be the first time in history that Team USA went through an entire Summer Olympics without a medal in boxing.
Though I believe Spence will earn either the silver or the bronze, it doesn't hide the alarming fact that boxing is a dying sport on the amateur level in the United States. Many would say we are seeing the effects of this on the professional level as well.
If you asked someone 16 years ago if they could imagine an Olympic Games where a complete American shutout was possible in boxing, most would have said no way.
But here we are with that as a very real possibility.
Spence was almost eliminated himself, but officials recounted the totals from his bout against Krishan Vikas of India. They awarded Spence the decision after adjusting the scores due to excessive and unpenalized holding from Vikas.
Talk about a close call.
Nonetheless, Spence still has life in this competition, and he must take advantage of it. Standing in Spence's way is his quarterfinal opponent, Russia's Andrey Zamkovoy. This will be no walk in the park for Spence.
Zamkovoy easily defeated his two previous opponents, and he is generally regarded as a tough fighter. Spence is a bit quicker than Zamkovoy, and he must work to keep the fight on the outside.
Both men are 5'9", and there is no significant length advantage. It will be a difficult bout, but one I believe Spence will score a hard-fought and pressure-packed victory in.
If he defeats Zamkovoy, he'll have one more win to attain to assure himself a medal. At this point, that is all he or the Untied States can hope for.
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