US boxer Yanez ignores coach Campbell final time
BEIJING (AP) Luis Yanez came out for Round 1 with one glove at his waist and another near his ear.
To those who knew how to spot it, the light flyweight was essentially making an obscene gesture directed straight at U.S. boxing coach Dan Campbell.
"He basically did the opposite of what we asked him to do," Campbell said, shaking his head for the last time over his smallest fighter and biggest problem on an American team that has foundered in yet another Olympics.
The tumultuous nine-man U.S. squad was down to just two boxers Saturday night after Yanez, who Campbell temporarily kicked off the team last month for skipping training, spent every minute of his 8-7 loss to Mongolia's Serdamba Purevdorj ignoring everything Campbell told him.
When Campbell told Yanez to keep his hands close, Yanez left them low. When Campbell visibly pleaded with Yanez to attack his Mongolian opponent, the boxer sat back with inexplicable caution, eventually waiting until it was too late.
But Campbell couldn't have been terribly surprised to see Yanez doing his own thing in the ring. Last month, Yanez told The Associated Press that if he got reinstated to the U.S. team, he wouldn't be listening to Campbell in his corner anyway.
Earlier, Campbell had told the AP that Yanez was "one of the biggest liars I've ever met." Too bad Yanez wasn't lying about ignoring him.
This embarrassing dysfunction on display at Workers' Gymnasium was months in the making for a coach who tried and failed to emulate powerful Cuba and Russia by bending an intensely individual sport to a team's will.
After losses by Yanez and middleweight Shawn Estrada on Saturday, the Americans have fewer fighters left in the Olympic tournament than India. Heavyweight Deontay Wilder and world champion welterweight Demetrius Andrade are in the quarterfinals, but the U.S. can't do any better than the Athens team's two medals.
Another world champion, Rau'shee Warren, was ousted after ignoring Campbell's pleas to attack late in his bout, and medal contender Gary Russell Jr.'s parents ripped the coaching staff's conditioning plans after Russell collapsed in a failed attempt to make weight.
A team that could have used some good news from Yanez, the talented teenage 106-pounder, instead got another bizarre episode.
"(Campbell was) telling me to just go at him, go at him, go at him," Yanez said. "I'm not that type of fighter. If I do that, I'm going to take (big punches). ... My dad told me to call him as soon as I'm done. I feel like I let him down."
Yanez trusts his hometown supporters more than Campbell, and he isn't alone on the U.S. team. Yanez acknowledged he spoke to his father, Bulmaro, and coach Dennis Rodarte - who both can't stand Campbell - back in the Dallas area shortly before both of his Olympic bouts.
Campbell said he believes Yanez has been getting nothing but bad advice from his friends and family, but he was unable to break through that bond with several of his boxers.
"These kids have been calling home so often," Campbell said. "We even put money on their phone so we can get in touch with them, and they call home. What happens is they get instructions all the way from the United States, and you can tell the difference because once the bell rings, they start to do other things."
Without his team's confidence, Campbell has been just one voice in a chorus of instructions. Andrade, who has both praised and criticized Campbell's work, listens to Campbell's corner instructions - but he subsequently cocks his head toward the stands to get more coaching from his father, Paul.
The communication problems were the most painful in the upset loss of Warren, the first two-time U.S. Olympian in 30 years. During a break in the action with 35 seconds left, Warren mistakenly thought he heard somebody in the stands giving him instructions - and he followed those voices in his head instead of his coaches' pleas at ringside.
Estrada also didn't do what Campbell asked in a one-sided loss to Britain's James Degale, though Campbell attributed it more to nerves than insolence.
"The other guy just followed his game plan better than Shawn," Campbell said. "That's often the difference in a fight like this, just sticking to a game plan."