Rau’shee Warren of the United States has obviously been a big talent in the amateur ranks.
The Cincinnati resident has won just about every title that is available in the United States, and he has been at the top of the list in either the light flyweight or flyweight class for the past eight years. In fact, he is the only boxer in the U.S. to have represented the country in three different Olympiads.
He was listed as #7 by AIBA in the latest flyeight (52 kg) ratings and was seeded even higher than that (third) in the Olympic boxing tournament. he drew a first-round bye. An eventual quarterfinal showdown with second-seeded Welshman Andrew Selby (#1 AIBA) loomed as a real possibility.
But now none of that means anything.
France’s Nordine Oubaali, who won the bronze at light flyweight in the 2007 World Amateur Championships, beat him on a 19-18 decision on Friday and sent Warren packing yet again. Oubaali was more aggressive and took the fight to the American, while Warren just found himself trying to land shots with more authority, and didn’t land enough of them.
Warren, who won the 2007 World Amateur Championship when it was held in the United States (Chicago), was considered by many to be the best hope this country had of winning a gold medal. Instead, he has gone down to defeat in the opening bout he’s fought in three straight Olympics, becoming rather symbolic of the futility the U.S. has suffered through in its amateur boxing program, which has one gold in the last three Olympiads.
He recognizes that something is wrong with the recipe, and did not leave the stage without throwing a jab or two at the ones who are cooking the sauce.
On his Twitter page he wrote, “U see why we go pro now.” One presumes that he thought he was jobbed on the decision, which admittedly could have gone either way. At the same time, though, he also called out those who are running the program at its highest level.
“That’s something people back in Colorado have got to figure out, what they want to do with the team,” he told reporters, referring to the USA Boxing training center in Colorado Springs.
Warren explained that he was delivering one shot at a time with more leverage rather than throw multiple punches, as per orders from his corner. Meanwhile, Oubaali was simply throwing more and landing more, which generally wins these bouts that are all about quantifiable point totals.
Warren, who had turned down opportunities to enter into a pro contract after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has no reason to wait any longer to join the punch-for-pay ranks. Perhaps he’ll get farther, but at that weight level there likely won’t be a lot of huge paydays.