Three minutes and 22 seconds
That was how long the gold medal match in the 2018 Asian Games’ Boxing Men’s Flyweight competition lasted.
No thanks to a head butt, Rogen Ladon will go home with a silver medal.
Ladon was the last man standing for Team Philippines who had a shot at a fifth gold medal.
But an ugly wound in his right eyebrow oozed with blood from that head butt by Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov, forcing the ring doctor to stop the fight.
But even the boxing announcer was at a loss over how to declare Latipov the winner in the gold medal match that was stopped only 22 seconds into the second round.
The games announcer at the JI Expo called it a Referee Stopped Contest – Second Round, but the verdict was decided by the judges’ scorecards which, except for the Indonesian, went the Uzbek’s way, 3-1.
“Siyempre na-dismaya ako na hindi man lang siya nakatama, mas marami pa tayong sinuntok na tinama sa kanya, pero ganun pa rin yung tawag nila,” Ladon said after the medal ceremony, that saw a sullen Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas handing him his silver.
Latipov received the gold medal tainted by allegations of cheating.
Ladon ended up a wounded silver medalist — the left side of his forehead just above the eyebrow was heavily bandaged to cover a wound that not only hurt his bid for a gold medal, but the entire Filipino nation’s hearts.
“Kumbaga parang sinadya na rin ata niya na ganiyanin. Na-ano na rin ako kasi alangan din siya sa akin, lumalaban din ako sa kanya,” said Ladon, who believed he had taken the first round by connecting clearer scoring punches.
Vargas, POC Chairman Abraham Tolentino, and Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson could only shrug their shoulders over the controversial loss absorbed by Ladon — the fourth after Nesthy Petecio in the preliminaries, and Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial in the semifinals last Thursday.
Picson said several federations also expressed dismay over the judging in the tournament.
“There are several federations who felt that we were robbed as well,” said Vargas, as they will make suggestions and try see to it that reforms are made in the boxing communities.
“In the AIBA, there are no protests. The best we could do is to go to the congress.”