LOS ANGELES -- U.S. light middleweight Frank Tate earned a gold medal for survival Saturday night at the Olympic Games.
Shawn O'Sullivan of Canada displayed his devastating punching power, power that earned him the world championship in 1983, in the second round of the gold medal fight against the 1984 world champ Tate.
O'Sullivan tagged Tate with a right to the jaw with 2:10 left in the round to inflict a standing eight count and then caught the American with a right cross with 78 seconds left for a second standing eight.
One more standing eight count in that second round and O'Sullivan would have been awarded a technical knockout and would have taken a gold medal back home with him to Toronto. But it never came. In fact, Tate caught O'Sullivan with a wicked right after ducking a punch with 16 seconds left to knock the Canadian fighter on his heels.
Tate danced away the final round, throwing effective left jabs to frustrate O'Sullivan and defuse his lethal right hand. Tate then had his arms raised by referee Constantine Kiriac in victory at fight's end by virtue of a 5-0 decision.
'In the third round I went back to my boxing skills that I learned when I was 12 years old,' said Tate, a native of Detroit. 'That's what got me here and that's why I'm wearing a gold medal right now.'
The judges gave the fight to Tate with three cards of 59-58, one of 59-57 and one of 58-57. The decision was booed by the crowd but O'Sullivan felt it never should have gotten to the judges.
'I thought I had scored enough points (in the second round) to merit a third standing eight count,' O'Sullivan said. 'It kind of appeared to me the ref was leaning over backwards to save Frank Tate from a third one. But he's a good boxer. He knows how to stay out of trouble and he did thay for those final 60 seconds or whatever it was.
'I'd have to disagree with the decision -- and there were a lot of people in the audience who had a difference of opinion with the five judges at ringside.'