U.S. beats Cuba to punch Reid stuns Duvergel in final bout to win only American gold

Atlanta Olympics

August 05, 1996|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- It came out of nowhere. It was the punch of the Olympics.

David Reid, beaten and battered by Cuba's Alfredo Duvergel for two rounds, unloaded a short right hand to score a shocking knockout, 36 seconds into the final round yesterday to claim the gold in the 156-pound final at the Centennial Summer Games.

"I was going for the home run," said Reid, a 22-year-old from Philadelphia.

"I knew he was beating me," said Reid, who had a welt over his left eye and who trailed 15-5 after two rounds. "I just wanted to hurt him. If the knockout came, it came."

Reid's stunning blow brought a flag-waving crowd to its feet. It even earned him a plaudit from Muhammad Ali, who was at ringside.

"He said to me, 'You're a bad boy,' " Reid said.

The knockout prevented the U.S. boxers from going oh-for-gold at the Olympics for the first time since 1948.

"I was the best hope because I was the last one," Reid said.

For U.S. coach Al Mitchell, the end could not have been sweeter. Mitchell and Reid have formed a close bond over the past decade. When Mitchell was divorced, it was Reid who gave him constant support.

"For a while, it looked like the American flag wasn't going to go up," Mitchell said. "I started to cry. I couldn't have a happier ending. We had all the bad breaks. But that right hand was my break."

Up until Reid threw that punch, he was outclassed by the Cuban left-hander, who smashed him around the ring, and even scored a standing 8 count in the first round with a left to the jaw.

"He hit me very hard," Reid said.

Apparently, Reid wasn't following orders. Told to stay close with the Cuban, he backed off from the opening punch.

Between the second and third rounds, Reid appeared dejected.

"I told him to get his head up," said U.S. assistant coach Pat Burns. "I told him that the Cuban was coming right at him and he was leading with his head."

Mitchell finally shouted at Reid: " 'Hey, we cannot win this boxing. You've got to meet him.' And he did -- dead on the nose."

Reid slipped a left, threw the right, and down went Duvergel. The Cuban got up before the count of 10, but staggered around the ring as the fight was waved off by Bulgarian referee Simeon Stojadinov.

"I turned around, and he was down," Reid said. "I saw him try to get back up and he fell down. I knew I had him."

Duvergel cried. Reid danced, grabbed an American flag and led a frenzied celebration that ended with his talk with Ali.

"Oh, man, it was a very special moment," Reid said.

For the U.S. team, it was the only memorable moment of these Games. The Americans finished with six medals, double the total they won in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.

Claiming bronzes were: Floyd Mayweather Jr., of Grand Rapids, Mich., 125; Terrance Cauthen, of Philadelphia, 132; Rhoshii Wells, of Riverdale, Ga., 165; Antonio Tarver, of Orlando, Fla., 178; and Nate Jones, of Chicago, 201.

"Deep in my heart, I thought we'd get 11 or 12 medals," Mitchell said. "You've got to have heart, and these guys had it."

Heart, and a punch out of nowhere, brought America its lone boxing gold.

"I'm going home," Reid said. "I'm going to get my eye fixed. And let my mom baby me."

Pub Date: 8/05/96

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