Joseph Diaz Jr.’s Olympic dreams hinged on a competitive and divisive middle round. His corner saw it one way. The judges saw it another.
“I thought it could have been even,” said Charles Leverette, a U.S. assistant coach. “Easily.”
Instead, judges scored the round 7-4 for Cuban Lazaro Alvarez, who went on to win the bantamweight bout 21-15 and advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
“I think it could have been even, 4-4, 5-5. Easily,” Leverette said. “Seven points, I don’t know where that came from. Maybe I blinked or something. I don’t know. Fell asleep in the corner.”
“It’s sad and it’s heartbreaking. This is a a great young man.”
Diaz appeared to take the loss in stride. He said the second round felt closer than the scoring indicated, but he was complimentary of his opponent.
“He’s a really great fighter,” Diaz said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the ‘W.’ But I gave everybody a show they wanted to see.”
“I thought the scoring should have been a closer, but the judges didn’t see that unfortunately. But hands-down, Lazaro is a really great fighter. I’m not going to give him no downgrade or anything.”
The 19-year old Diaz said he’ll now pursue a professional career, likely as a super bantamweight.
“I had a really great time over here at the Olympic Games,” he said. “It was a great opportunity for me, a great experience.”
“Finally I get to eat me some French fries and some cheesecake since I haven’t had that in a long time.”