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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
U.S. looking for boxing gold in London

By Steve Bunce

Freddie Roach, who trains Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao, has been given the impossible task of turning the American amateur boxers into the next great Olympic fairytale.

America stunned the world in 1972 when they beat the Soviets at basketball, and also in 1980 against the same opposition at the winter Olympics, a success that became known as The Miracle on Ice. If Freddie manages to come back from London 2012 with more than one US gold medal, it will be the Miracle in the Ring.

Golds at the Olympics are not -- and this may sound stupid -- won at the Olympics, they're won in international tournaments that take place over the one to four years before. And that's where the Americans are failing -- their fighters are highly talented, but they will be far too green to succeed at next year's Games.

Meanwhile, the British have showed tremendous forward-planning by placing the squad in week-long training camps since the last Olympics.

The Americans haven't, because they have their unique boxing trials, which are brilliantly fair but haven't worked at the last three Olympics. Looking at their squad for the World Championships, I reckon eight of the ten have had about 20 top-level international fights between them -- and that just isn't enough.

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