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As expected, Tate came out on a bicycle and jabbing, a hallmark of Nappi-coached fighters. O'Sullivan packs a wallop in both hands, and there are few who are unwise enough to stand in front of him. The first round was close and could have gone either way. But in the second, O'Sullivan blasted Tate from his bike, twice catching him for standing eight counts, and was within one solid shot of a third and victory. But Tate gamely held on to carry the fight into the final round.
The second was an overwhelming round for O'Sullivan, but—astoundingly—four of the judges (Keith Walker of New Zealand, Han Dong Jin of South Korea, Noureddine Addala of Tunisia and Muili Ojo of Nigeria) gave him the round by the slim margin of 20-19. Where do they find them? Better yet, why?
"O.K., you know what he's going to do in this round," coach Peter Wylie told O'Sullivan. "He's going to run around and jab. I want you to just go out there in the center of the ring and wave at him to come in and fight."
Instead, the baby-faced 22-year-old O'Sullivan went out for the kill and wound up chasing Tate and catching jabs for three minutes. And then he stood in shock when Tate got the 5-0 verdict.
"It was an unfortunate decision," said the obviously distressed O'Sullivan. "I think you can tell that by the applause given Tate and by the applause given me. There seem to be about 15,000 people out there who disagree with the judges. I dearly wish things had gone different, but they didn't, and there's no gain in crying over spilled milk."
Then, after Josipovic suffered the undeserved boos of some boorish fans when he appeared for his walkover, Tyrell Biggs, the super heavyweight, closed his amateur career with a stylish if unexciting 4-1 defeat of an old rival, Francesco Damiani of Italy.
Nine gold medals? Yes. But a bit tarnished by some of the referees and judges. Perhaps they'd like to shoot a little craps for their white canes?