INDIANAPOLIS, AUG. 18 -- Day 10 of these Pan American Games found the U.S. boxing team team in a better mood, the U.S. women's softball team advancing to the gold medal game and the U.S. baseball team winning again, then bracing for a Wednesday night showdown with Puerto Rico.
The U.S. boxing team, after losing three bouts to Cubans on Monday night, held a team meeting this morning in an effort to regroup and made somewhat of a comeback tonight with three quarterfinal victories.
Bantamweight Michael Collins of LaPorte, Tex., stopped Jamaica's Patrick Stephenson with four seconds remaining in the first round. Light welterweight Todd Foster of Great Falls, Mont., won a unanimous decision over Argentina's Oscar Ponce Caton. And light middleweight Frank Liles of Syracuse, N.Y., won a unanimous decision over Brazil's Peter Silva to become the ninth American to qualify for the semifinal round.
All three Americans, as a result, guaranteed themselves at least a bronze medal.
Stephenson took two standing-eight counts in the first round as Collins scored repeatedly with combinations. Both boxers are 23, but Stephenson appeared at a loss against a man with much more experience. Collins is a three-time national champion who took a silver medal at the 1982 world championships.
"He was outclassed," Collins said. "I was catching him with some pretty good, solid punches."
Collins could have felt some pressure by the entrance of middleweight world champion Sugar Ray Leonard just before his bout. Leonard is here to scout amateur talent he might someday want to sign in his new career as a manager and promoter.
"I had to take care of business," Collins said. "I couldn't be worrying about Sugar Ray Leonard. But I guess right now I can go out and worship him."
If Collins advances to the final, he might face Cuba's Manuel Martinez, who advanced with a unanimous decision over Mexico's Jose Garcia and predicted that all 11 remaining Cuban boxers would win gold medals.
"Who is Martinez?" Collins said. "All I know is he's a boxer, he weighs 119 pounds and I believe he's from Cuba."
Foster engaged in a rumble with Caton, who had no real flair but did possess a roundhouse uppercut that occasionally gave the American problems. Foster appeared to win the first two rounds clearly, but had to be careful of being knocked out in the third as Caton attacked relentlessly.
The U.S. boxers will have to win much more difficult fights Wednesday night if they are to advance to the finals. Andrew Maynard, a U.S. Army product originally from Cheverly, Md., meets Cuban world champion Pablo Romero in a light-heavyweight bout. And Brooklyn's Riddick Bowe will try to substantiate some of the talking he has done all week in a match against superheavyweight Jose Gonzales, also of Cuba. Another U.S. -- Cuba matchup will have Michael Carabajal of Phoenix going against world champion Juan Torres in the light flyweight division.
Two more U.S. fighters will have semifinal bouts: featherweight world champion Kelcie Banks of Chicago, who is the only American to beat a Cuban boxer at these Games in four tries (a 3-2 decision over Arnaldo Mesa), faces Puerto Rico's Esteban Flores. And world champion welterweight Kenneth Gould of Rockford, Ill., meets another Puerto Rican, Rey Rivera.
Of the team meeting, Banks said, "We have to stick together as a family. Just because three failed doesn't mean the rest of the team stops. We can't let the past destroy the future. That was yesterday and this is today."
The first soccer controversy of the Games occurred tonight when a semifinal between Brazil and Mexico was suspended without a winner being determined. Brazil was leading, 1-0, with about a minute left in overtime, when a member of the Mexican staff ran onto the field to confront the referee and tripped Brazil's Nelson Kerchner. The Mexican offender, who wasn't identified, went after Kerchner, who had knocked down Mexico's Raul Servin moments earlier.
FIFA, governing body of world soccer, will meet Wednesday to determine the outcome of the game. The two teams scuffled at halftime and Brazil's Ricardo Raimundo suffered a broken rib.
Victories by the United States and Puerto Rico in baseball tonight set up a big Wednesday night match between the two teams, which will decide the seeding for this weekend's medal round.
Jim Abbott, a Flint Hill, Mich., native born without a right hand, allowed no hits and struck out four in three innings as the Americans (6-0) beat Aruba, 15-2.
In women's softball, 17-year-old Californian Michele Granger threw a one-hitter for the second time in 24 hours. This time, the United States took a 4-0 victory over Puerto Rico and advanced to Thursday's gold medal game against an undetermined opponent.
The U.S. men's softball team had the opportunity to do the same, but dropped a 3-2 decision to Canada for the Americans' first defeat after nine consecutive victories.
The Canadian victory not only tied the two teams for first with records of 9-1, but also sent the United States into the losers bracket, meaning the Americans have to play Wednesday against the winner of a Cuba-Virgin Islands game. Canada is assured of at least a silver medal.
In women's volleyball, Brazil scored five straight points in the final game behind the strong serve of Regina Uchoa to hold off a U.S. comeback and beat the Americans, 15-9, 15-11, 8-15, 15-8. The game wrapped up round robin competition. The United States plays Cuba and Brazil meets Peru in the semifinals of the medal round Thursday.
In men's water polo, the United States scored a 12-4 victory over Canada to join Cuba as the only remaining unbeaten team in the Games. The United States, which meets Cuba Wednesday night, got goals from eight players. Kevin Roberts of Santa Ana Heights, Calif., scored three goals. Newport Beach's James Bergeson scored the first two goals, including the one with two minutes left in the first quarter that gave the Americans a lead they never relinquished.
Rob Stull, 26, a Damascus, Md., native who won gold medals this week in the individual and team pentathlon, will try for a third medal Wednesday in fencing.
Meanwhile, Gene Bartow resigned -- or was fired -- as Puerto Rico's basketball coach today.
Bartow, basketball coach at Alabama-Birmingham, said he resigned for health reasons. But Joaquin Martinez Rousset, press officer for the Puerto Rican delegation, claimed Bartow was fired.
Bartow said he quit as Puerto Rico's coach after Sunday's victory over Panama gave the team a 4-1 record.
"I just don't feel good," Bartow said from Birmingham. "I've had a touch of the flu. I told them that Sunday and I had told them that after the Brazil game and they told me just get through the week."