Before the Olympics started, I was wondering if there would be scandal. Two things in particular worried me: the BBC report that claimed a 7-million dollar payment was made by an Azeri national to the World Series of Boxing, allegedly in return for two guaranteed gold medals for Azerbaijan in London.
AIBA sent out a threatening letter to journalists telling them not to mention this report, but they didn't send a copy to me.
Keep an eye on the fighters from Azerbaijan, I thought.
I also noted that AIBA, who are dropping the A from their name so they can ooze into professional boxing, actually signed several London Olympians to pro contracts before the Games began. Hmm, I thought, isn't that a conflict of interest? The organization that sanctions and judges the Olympic bouts also has money riding on several of its participants?
Keep an eye on the APB prospects, I thought.
Yesterday there were two hideous decisions in the men's heavyweight quarterfinals. The first robbed a game Belarusian, awarding victory instead to Teymur Mammadov from Azerbaijan. While I'm happy that I'll get to keep saying the name "Mammadov" a little longer, the decision was incomprehensible. Even worse was the fight that followed, in which a Clemente Russo of Italy hugged and held all the way against a clearly enraged Cuban. Clemente got no warnings from the ref, who perhaps thought he was reffing a judo match. Guess who AIBA signed to a pro contract right before the Games?
The joke is on them, though. Nobody in their right mind would spend a dollar to see Clemente Russo fight.
Belarus and Cuba filed protests; both were declined.
Teddy Atlas put it this way: "Somebody get me a bucket because I think I'm going to vomit."
If it weren't for the girls, I'd be done. They put on a great show this morning, crowned by Katie Taylor's win over the superb Natasha Jonas and Claressa Shield's triumphant comeback over the enormous Anna Laurell of Sweden. Perhaps because there's no money in women's boxing, there's no reason to cheat.