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But Cuba, si, U.S., no
Pat Putnam
October 16, 1978
With Olympic heavyweight champion Teofilo Stevenson stopping Jimmy Clark, the Cuban national team walloped the U.S. 8-3 at Madison Square Garden
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October 16, 1978

But Cuba, Si, U.s., No

With Olympic heavyweight champion Teofilo Stevenson stopping Jimmy Clark, the Cuban national team walloped the U.S. 8-3 at Madison Square Garden

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Of the five decisions, only one was unanimous. In that one, Surkein sided with the Cubans in declaring Hector Ramirez, a 106-pound southpaw from Guantanamo, the winner over Richard Sandoval of the U.S.

In the next four fights, the judges voted in blocs: the Americans for the Americans, the Cubans for the Cubans.

Consider these discrepancies in two of the bouts:

Bout 3: Santiago (59-58) and Rodriguez (60-57) for Cuban 119-pounder Adolfo Horta; Konnor for Jackie Beard, 60-57. ("I refereed that bout," said Surkein, "and Beard won it 60-57.")

Bout 4: Konnor and Surkein, both 60-57, for the U.S. 125-pounder Bernard Taylor; Santiago, 60-57, for Angel Herrera.

The pattern was finally broken in the sixth fight, mostly because Cuba's 139-pound Jose Aguilar so easily outclassed Don Curry that not even Jesse James would have voted for the American. Both Konnor and Surkein, as well as Rodriguez, who just couldn't seem to bring himself to give an American even one round, cast their votes for Aguilar.

No one got to cast even a first-round ballot in the seventh fight. Clint Jackson, one of three Nashville deputy sheriffs on the U.S. team, was stopped early on a cut by welterweight Andres Aldama, a silver medalist at Montreal. With Jackson blinded by blood pouring from a cut on his right eyelid, Surkein moved in quickly, and wisely, to stop the fight.

Apparently Surkein's act of humanity made little impression on Rodriguez, who refereed the following 156-pound bout between Luis Martinez and Jeff Stoudemire. With 40 seconds to go in the second round, Stoudemire ripped open a deep cut over Martinez' right eye, bathing the Cuban's hair, face and chest with blood. Rodriguez never even looked at the cut.

Then in the third round, Martinez came out without a mouthpiece, apparently to help him breathe. If Rodriguez noticed the obvious rules infraction, he never let on.

No matter. The two U.S. judges and Santiago, who displayed more than a modicum of integrity throughout the night, all voted for Stoudemire.

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