The U.S. has won more all-time boxing medals than any other country.
However, following Errol Spence, Jr.’s bout in the round of 16 at the 2012 London Olympics, the US was seemingly going to have to wait another four years before adding another medal from the men’s welter event.
That is, until the International Amateur Boxing Association had their say.
Spence initially lost his round of 16 match against Krishan Vikas of India 13-11, with Vikas taking rounds one and three with scores of 4-2 and 4-3, respectively.
Team USA protested Spence’s loss, which led to the AIBA’s competition jury reviewing the fight and finding that Vikas committed nine holding fouls in the third round. After determining that four additional points should have been awarded to Spence, the final score became 13-15 in favor of the U.S. boxer from Texas.
But Spence must now take advantage of this second chance not just for himself, but also for the men’s side of Team USA boxing.
Team USA has won at least one boxing medal in every set of modern Olympic Games that they have participated in, although the men have won just one gold medal since 2004.
Spence’s second chance gives him an opportunity to change that.
An article on ESPN.com contains a quote from Spence in which he stated his goal for the London Olympics:
I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win. I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.
Spence, the No. 1 ranked welterweight fighter in the U.S. and No. 5 overall in the world, has regained his opportunity to help the U.S. avoid leaving their first Olympic Games without a medal in men’s boxing.
As the ESPN.com article mentions, the success of American men in Olympic boxing has passed through the likes of Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier, Evander Holyfield and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
After spending a few hours thinking he had been defeated, Spence now has first-hand knowledge of the feeling he is trying to avoid experiencing again when he takes to the ring in his next match.
Of course, what may be his best advantage in the ring is what also could help him channel his focus during his second chance into a gold medal for the US.
An article by Elvira Sakmari and Brian Curtis on NBCDFW.com describes an aspect of Spence’s mental toughness, which is what his coach points to as his edge:
“I can feel when an opponent’s getting weak, getting tired and slowing down a little bit,” said Spence Jr., and that’s when he strikes taking down his opponent.
In an event in which computers have a say in the outcome and points are awarded for punches against an opponent, waiting for an opposing boxer to wear down with only three matches to increase one’s score total could be a risky strategy.
However, Spence has now kept himself in contention for a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Actually, Spence has kept the US in contention for any type of medal on the men’s side at the Olympic Games.
Between accomplishing a personal goal and continuing the success of a country that has been ongoing for over a century, Spence should have an abundance of motivation heading into his next bout that at one point wasn’t scheduled to take place.
He must now turn his second chance into a gold medal.