(RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL) – Light welterweight Karl Dargan (Philadelphia, Pa.) closed both the 2007 Pan American Games and his amateur career with a gold medal on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. Dargan faced off with Jonathan Gonzalez Ortiz of Puerto Rico in the light welterweight final at the Riocentro Sports Complex Pavilion Two. In his second Pan American Games, Dargan reached the top of the medal podium, winning a 9-4 decision over Gonzalez Ortiz..
Dargan opened the bout dictating the pace and scored the first point, but Gonzalez Ortiz came right back and the Puerto Rican held a 4-3 lead after the first two minutes of boxing. The two-time national champion went back to his patented boxing and movement in the second round, and allowed Gonzalez Ortiz only one point while doubling his own point total to take a 6-4 lead at the midway point of the bout. The third round continued in the same fashion with Dargan using his strong defense to evade Gonzalez Ortiz’s shots, holding the Puerto Rican scoreless in the third. He went into the fourth round with a three-point edge, and Gonzalez Ortiz opened the round with a flurry but landed no scoring blows. Dargan evaded the oncoming Gonzalez Ortiz over the final two minutes, adding to his lead en route to a 9-4 final decision and Pan American Games gold.
“I feel great, I had to go get this gold. I’d like to thank the Concrete Jungle family, Pat at the Olympic Training Center, he really got us in shape for this, Coach Dan, Coach Israel and Coach Basheer,” Dargan said. “I threw a right hand in the second round and hurt my elbow a little bit, but I just started moving and using my jab so he wouldn’t know. By the third round, I was back at it. I was listening to the coaches, they were saying that he was too slow and that he’s inexperienced. They told me to do what my personal coach, Brother Naazim Richardson said, which is ‘Swim without getting wet.’ The game plan was to land my shots without getting hit.”
As Dargan did not qualify for the upcoming Olympic Trials, he will be ending his amateur career at a peak. “More than likely, this is my last amateur bout and I went out on top,” he said. “I had to finish a chapter that I begun back in 2003, and now at the end of my amateur career, I feel good to go out on top.”
Dargan’s medal brings the U.S. medal count to four with two gold, one silver and one bronze medal. Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) also took home a gold medal, welterweight Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) won silver and light heavyweight Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) grabbed bronze. The team will travel from Rio de Janeiro back to the United States on Sunday.
The United States team was led by USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Dan Campbell (Colorado Springs, Colo.); 2004 Olympic Head Coach Basheer Abdullah (Fort Carson, Colo.) and 2000 Olympic Coach Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.). Pete Balcunas served as team manager and Jim McNally (Annapolis, Md.) participated as the AIBA official.
141 lbs/64 kg: Karl Dargan, Philadelphia, Pa./USA dec. Jonathan Gonzalez Ortiz, 9-4