Keyshawn Davis Comes Up Just Short Against Rival Andy Cruz in Lightweight Gold Medal Match
Keyshawn Davis had hoped to become the first American Olympic boxer to win a gold medal since Andre Ward did so in 2004. For that to happen, he must overcome his biggest stumbling block in Cuba’s Andy Cruz in the lightweight gold medal match at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
History runs deep between the two. On three previous occasions, they have fought with Cruz winning each time. Part of Davis’ motivation for this tournament was the chance to get another shot against Cruz.
FIGHT OF ADJUSTMENTS
The American was disciplined and focused at the start of the bout. Facing someone renowned for outstanding foot movement, he made it a focus to cut the ring off on the elusive Cuban. However, Cruz is not only highly skilled. His boxing IQ is arguably better than anyone in the amateur ranks. He used those attributes to win the opening stanza.
Davis rebounded in what was a big round two. He tightened up defensively and was able to get Cruz. The 22-year-old was able to use his physicality and power to unnerve his rival. It added up, with him winning the round on all five judges’ scorecards. For the first time in the tournament, Cruz was being tested and had a look of distress.
ALL ON THE LINE
However, Cruz was the heavy pre-tournament Gold medal favorite for a reason. He made adjustments of his own. The 25-year-old decided to use every inch of the ring and played the potshot game. It may not have been the most aesthetically pleasing style to watch, but it scored points.
Not deterred, Davis stays on the attack. With forty-five seconds to go, he caught Cruz with a right-hand. He landed with another left-hook/right-hand just before the final bell.
In the end, Cruz won the third round and the fight by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29). For Keyshawn Davis, his mission to win gold and a chance at redemption failed. One should not feel bad for him. He was one of the stars of the tournament. Professional promoters were watching and will surely throw a hefty contract his way once he returns to the professional ranks.
It was also the cap of a highly successful Olympic tournament for the US. With Davis winning the silver, he is the fourth American to win a medal; the best total for the United States since the 2000 Olympics.
Cruz winning the gold reasserts Cuba’s dominance in the amateur ranks. They have now won five medals in this Tokyo Olympics, four of them gold, along with a bronze. At this moment, it looks like their dominance will continue for a good while longer.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.