The United States’ boxing team set a record in the London Olympics, a mark no one expected and Americans hope will never be matched. Team USA has the dubious and embarrassing distinction of going the entire Games without capturing a single medal.
Once the strength of America’s teams that seemed to always produce world champion boxers, Team USA no longer packs a punch in the ring.
The Americans won their first four fights on the opening weekend in London, but that was it. Even the forgettable U.S. team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics managed to pull out a bronze medal by Deontay Wilder. That was the worst performances by an American Olympic team . . . until now.
“I think the foundation is kind of crumbling a little bit, but we’re going to rebuild it,” U.S. assistant coach Charles Leverette said told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon. “The support is there, but we have to figure out the best way to help these athletes get back to the top.”
The last hope for a medal was Errol Spence, who got to face Andrey Zamkovoy after his loss to an Indian fighter was overturned. Granted that reprieve, Spence did not perform with the desperation needed to advance. And he didn’t, losing 16-11 and leaving the United States – the most successful Olympic boxing team in history — without a boxing medal for the fist time in history.
This is a team that featured, for instance, in the 1976 Montreal Olympics gold medals by Sugar Ray Leonard, Leo Randolph, Michael Spinks, Howard Davis and Leon Spinks. Leonard went on to become one of boxing’s all-time great champions, and Randolph, and the Spinks brothers also held titles in their respective weight classes at one point.
“It’s very disappointing for all of us, but we all fought hard and tried,” Spence said. “I’m glad a better guy beat me this time, because I didn’t like the way I went out last time. I didn’t think about the pressure on the team. I just tried to fight my fight, and it didn’t work out.”