BOXING: Christopher Downs Stops Argentine Opponent at the Americas Olympic Qualifier

March 13, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
(PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD)-Light heavyweight Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) made an impressive debut at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Port of Spain, Trinidad, stopping Patricio Pitto in the second round. Downs let his hands fly early and often in the light heavyweight preliminary round battle. He enjoyed an active first round, trapping Pitto in the corner and unleashing combinations multiple times in the first round. The bout was tied at three at the end of the first, but Downs continued his strong boxing in the second. He slowed his pace slightly, but continued to look for openings and released powerful shots."I wasn't able to get onto my toes the way that I wanted so I had to sit down and rely on mostly power punches today and it got me through,"Downs said."My defense was still a little sloppy. Sometimes I would admire stop and admire my work because I knew I was catching him with some good shots."Downs built up a 6-4 lead toward the end of the round before unleashing a laser-sharp right hand, dropping Pitto to the canvas. The Argentine was clearly hurt by the punishing right hand, but tried to regain his feet. The referee immediately called a halt to the contest, giving Downs the stoppage victory at the 1:46 mark of the second round."I knew it was a good shot. It was a good punch, right above the eyebrow where the temple area is,"he said."I was about to come with a second combination but I saw that he was already going down so I stepped back and the referee stepped in. I thought they were going to let it continue and I was going to jump right back on him and not give him a break, but the referee stopped it."USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Dan Campbell was joined in the corner by his assistant coach Basheer Abdullah and felt that having Abdullah in the corner helped to calm Downs' nerves."He was a little jittery the last couple days so I thought it would be better to put Basheer (Abdullah) in to work his corner and give him the instructions,"Campbell said."As soon as he found out the Basheer was going to work up, he actually settled down in the dressing room so we are trying to do whatever it takes to get these guys qualified."Downs will face Cuba's Julio de la Cruz Peraza in quarterfinal round competition on Friday, and has high hopes for his next contest."I feel confident; it was a competitive bout (between Colombia and Cuba), but I like my chances,"he said. Light welterweight Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.) will take the ring in evening action, battling Brazil's Myke Carvahlo for a spot in the quarterfinal round. His twin brother, Oscar Molina, a member of the Mexican Olympic team claimed a victory in his afternoon contest in Port of Spain. U.S. Result 178 lbs/81 kg: Christopher Downs, Fort Carson, Colo./USA stopped Patricio Pitto, ARG, RSCH-2 (1:46) Christopher Downs Quotes"The game plan was to stay behind my gloves, nice tight defense and keep the pressure on him. I wanted to make every shot that I threw count. There wasn't any finesse about my game plan today. It was just to go in there and get him out of there and take it out of the judges' hands. I was here earlier for the qualifier for the Pan Ams and I know how tough it can be to win a decision here.""I tried to feel the guy out and see what punches he likes to throw, what combinations he likes to throw, and this particular guy wanted to sit on his right hand and loop the right hand so I tried to catch on to what he was doing. I faked the jab and caught him with my own straight right hand and that's what ended the bout-a right hand to the temple. I was trying to work off the jab and see what he was going to do with it. It worked out today."Dan Campbell Quotes"We wanted him to let his hands go early. The only thing I thought he did wrong was he left his jab hand out there a little too long, and the guy was trying to time it, but he just couldn't do it. He's got to learn to get that hand back up in a defensive posture.""We watched Cuba, and we have some ideas we are going to try out tomorrow."