Olympic Stunner: Ireland’s Barnes Falls To Spain’s Heredia
By: Sean Crose
During last week’s opening Olympic ceremony in Rio, Ireland’s Paddy Barnes carried his nation’s flag. On Monday the 29 year old was figuratively sent packing when he lost a split decision to Spain’s 20 year old Samuel Carmona Heredia. A close fight, it was ultimately settled in the third and final round by Heredia’s slippery skill. Needless to say, fans of Olympic boxing were treated to a major upset. For, popular and experienced, Barnes was looking for a third medal after earning the Bronze in both China and England. Sadly for the Irishman, however, it simply wasn’t mean to be this time around.
The media, which likes to use the same words and phrases in different outlets (so much for individuality) have taken hold of the word “shock” to describe Barnes’ fall to earth. Was Barnes’ himself shocked, however? Truly, it appears a dark truth occurred to the Belfast fighter during the bout. “To be honest, I felt good getting into the ring today,” the Independent quotes Barnes as saying after the loss. “But, to be honest with you, at the end of that first round, my energy was completely gone.” Still, the man made it clear he felt terrible after the loss.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” he admitted, claiming he had been “the favorite for gold.” Yet the light flyweight still had a final, devastating comment to add. “Just as well I got beaten,” he said, “because I would have been embarrassed next week.” A harsh assessment to be sure, but perhaps an honest one from a man who clearly claimed to have weight issues. That doesn’t take anything away from Spain’s Heredia, however. One doesn’t simply stun the world in a boxing match because one fighter has issues. It takes two, after all, to create an upset of such magnitude.
Needless to say, social media was ablaze after the fight.
“Anyway,” fellow Irish boxer Michael Conlon tweeted, “Paddy Barnes is a Legend of Irish sport and always will be! Done a lot more for Ireland than most ever will! #UpBarnes #Legend”
“Absolutely gutted for my mate @paddyb_ireland,” tweeted Irish star Carl Frampton.”I know how much he wanted that and how much he’s put in to these Olympics. Still a hero”
If there’s one fact that’s plainly obvious this week it’s that boxing will be more than a series of staid formalities at this year’s Olympics. Although Barnes’ loss is clearly hard on both he and his fans, some intrigue has now been injected into the ring in Rio. The unexpected, in short, has happened.