U.S. Olympic boxing coach Dan Campbell might have said it the best when describing his team.
“You know, it’s just been one thing after another.”
The relationship between Dan Campbell and team USA has been shaky from the beginning.
Campbell’s requirement that all members of team USA leave their trainers in order to practice as a team in Colorado Springs for an entire year, has been a high point of criticism. Specifically, the two major negatives with Colorado Springs are that the boxers are being taught contradicting styles and are away from their families.
Middleweight Shawn Estrada expressed his dissatisfaction in Coach Dan Campbell saying “I would rather be home with the coach who got me here.”
Coach Dan Campbell has had disagreements with almost everyone on the team and six out of the nine American boxers have threatened to leave the team. Specifically he put into question Demetrius Andrade’s desire to win and Russell Jr’s work ethic. These are two of the most likely medal winners for team USA (along with Rau’Shee Warren).
Gary Russell Sr. the father and trainer of Olympic boxer Gary Russell Jr. has had nothing but criticism towards Coach Campbell.
“(Campbell) had so many arguments with these boxers it's like he's setting them all up for failure. He's threatened to throw Sadam (Ali), Demetrius, Rau'Shee (Warren), Javier (Molina), Gary, and Luis all off the team. That's six boxers, more than half the team. Something has to be wrong if you're threatening to get rid of half the team. It can't all be the fault of the boxers."
In addition, Russell Sr. has criticized the coach as the reason for his son’s worse physical condition as a result of Campbell’s relaxed tendencies in coaching.
Things have gone so wrong that according to Shawn Estrada there have been six or seven U.S. Olympic boxers who have trained with their original trainers in secret.
Melting points hit the peak when light flyweight Luis Yanez went AWOL and was kicked off the team. Yanez’s excuse for his absence from was that he was looking over his sister who was staying in a drug rehab clinic. Yanez also made public that the team did not like Dan Campbell (what a shocker).
Coach Dan Campbell eloquently responded saying that Yanez is “one of the biggest liars I’ve ever met”.
Now that the Olympics have begun the result’s of Campell’s training is becoming clear, but not in a good way.
Before the opening round started, Gary Russell Jr. collapsed trying to make weight for his fight and as a result was eliminated from the competition. It is the responsibility of the coach to make sure that each fighter is in good physical condition to fight.
Javier Molina performed dreadfully losing 14-1 against Boris Georgiev of Bulgaria. Later it was announced that Molina wasn’t cleared to fight until 24 hours of his first round match because of a small hole that was found in his lung.
While Campbell is not to blame for this incident, it certainly did not help an already dire situation.
Lightweight Sadam Ali lost 20-5 against Georgian Popescu of Romania (no excuse has yet to be made for his loss). According to an NBC interview with Sadam Ali, he became worried after the first round that he was losing and changed his fighting style.
While the negatives certainly outweigh the positives there have been some bright spots. Shawn Estrada, Raynell Williams, and Demetrius Andrade all won their first round match-ups.
While the Olympics is far from over I predict that the controversy over Coach Dan Campbell has just begun.