In Defense of Rau'Shee Warren

 Rau Shee WarrenThe snapback on the men's side of the team USA sent to the London Olympics was rather severe following the exit of Errol Spence, the last hope for the men to medal in the Games. Claressa Shields' gold diminished some of the chopsbusting, as it meant the US squad didn't leave the Olympic medal-less for the first time ever. But, rightly so, folks have been intent of getting the real deal on why USA's amateur boxing program is so pitiable compared to their glory days.

Teddy Atlas, never one to mince words, wasn't afraid to single out some of the boxers he thought underperformed. The analyst, who worked the Games with Bob Papa, told TSS last week that Ru'Shee Warren, taking part in his third Games, failed to impress him. “He didn't fight like it meant anything to him,” Atlas said. He said Warren ran too much and generally fought like someone who wasn't hungry. Ohio's Warren has been able to draw a salary while maintaing his amateur status, fighting in the World Series of Boxing, and Atlas told me he isn't keen on that arrangement, believing it offers an opportunity for some to not work as hard as one has to in the pros, while still gettting paid. (Atlas is the sort, as am I, I admit, who likes to see athletes obviously giving their all in competition, emptying their tank, being willing to yes, go out on their shield, with honor, rather than coasting in the waning moments of a lost cause. Why not go down swinging, right?)

Julie Goldsticker, who has worked with USA Boxing since 2001, and headed up media relations for Team USA in these Games, thinks that the men, in particular have drawn undue scorn for their London outing. Atlas told me he would've liked to see more emotion from the men, maybe some tears, showing a level of caring; Goldsticker was present during those moments away from the camera, when pride fell away, she told me, and indeed many of these athletes shed tears because they didn't deliver.

“Just because they didn't cry in the walk from the ring to the NBC area 50 yards away doesn't mean they didn't cry,” said Goldsticker, making note that she wasn't speaking for USA Boxing as an entity. “The large majority of that team shed tears, but even if they didn't, tears equalling caring isn't how it works for every person. I sat in dark hallways, dorm rooms and a wide array of areas with athletes as they cried and replayed their bouts and the lead-in to them. All 12 of these athletes put years into this and I can assure you, representing their country on this stage meant a great deal to them.

“In regard to the comments that have been made about the Olympics lacking importance to some of the athletes, I can assure that the Olympic Games meant the world to all 12 members of the team, particuarly three-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren. Rau'shee gave a third of his life to the pursuit of winning an Olympic gold medal and placing it around his mother's neck and no one would commit that type of time to any goal that they weren't passionate about,” she said. She noted that Warren gave of himself to the kids training at his gym, and to his teammates, especially Shields, to whom he acted as a mentor. “Rau' Shee is the heart of so much of what we do and his impact has never been properly acknowledged,” Goldsticker said.

Check back tomorrow, for suggestions from Atlas, Manny Steward and Goldsticker on how to help get USA Boxing back on its feet.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Maybe Goldsticker should change that name to Nothinglicker. I'm 100 percent on board with Teddy Atlas about Rau'shee. Dude is indeed lazy and lamed because he is/was a highly/nicely paid amateur pugilist, who acted like he was entitled. [Ninety percent of professional boxers will not see in five or 10 years the amount of paid that he made in ONE YEAR of AMATEUR bullshyting -- I mean fighting.] Rau'shee constantly believed that the judges and dey sidekicks would favor him in any close bouts. But that was never going to happen. Some of those United States O coaches should've told him that it was just the opposite. When you are the top gun, Olympic crooks -- I mean judges -- expect for you to win convincingly and to make an attempt to perform to the highest heaven. For 12 years, Rau'shee dilly dally and bullshytted around in dat square jungle believing that he was judge loved over all the other fighters because he's so good and stayed around so long. Amateur boxing judges -- the world over -- don't like that. They constantly talk shyt about you behind your back about being an amateur too long and should've been in the pros. The game of boxing is a strong-odor, strange, odd-@$$ animal. And that is the way it will always be. Now Rau'shee may have a difficult time in the pros, because there may be cheating-@$$ officials on da take dat may be robbing the holy hebejeebeez outta him believing that it is perfect fine to do: "BECAUSE HE WAS AN AMATEUR TOO LONG. And made good money there. Fudge him as a pro. I don't like him....He developed too many bad amateur habits, etc. etc. And cannot crossover as a pro." The above lyrical bulljive has been played tons of times against long-time amateur pugilists, who turn pro at middle age for a boxer. Sixteen to 22 is considered young. Twenty-three to 29 is known as middle-age. Thirty and above is OLD! Thirty-five is ancient. I just tell it like it is, stealing a quote from my late, great old goduncle Howard Cosell. Holla!

-deepwater :

I agree Radam. This is bizarro world where 3 olympics= 3 losses is celebrated. raushee should be excuses. and atlas should watch the guys at the staten island gym he owns. because marcus brown gave up during his fight. he gave up big time.

-brownsugar :

I like the varied opinions. I don't think there is a right or wrong response. And On the other hand I do like the boldness of the authors perspective. It's true,.. grizzled, cantankerous, fight fans from the old school like myself have very little sympathy for percieved under-achievers and brook no tolerance for those who lack the expertise and tenacity possessed by those great athletes of the 76' team. But the article is valid and I appreciate the humanistic side of the issue. I like the passage about fighters crying after a loss. We had team mates on our high school wresling team who cried everytime they lost. and that was usually more than 50% of the time. But they never joined us on cold winter mornings to jog up Suicide Hill, They never took the bus with us across town to learn from the great Ghuru's like Bob Dielly at Thompsons Recreation Center. The never went to the library to learn exotic moves and techniques seldom seen by the competition. and they never joined us on the championship podium because their tears and failures never fueled the desire to put forth the necessary effort to become winners instead of losers. I could say that Warren stayed around the amateur team for 3 Olympics because he enjoyed being a big fish in small pond. But I don't have the right to make that assumption. I remember going back to highschool for wrestling practice a few times after graduation to help my former coach with a new flock of fledgeling recuits. But it felt creepy because I knew I wouldn't be there to finish what was started. And I felt I was going backwards instead of forward,... So I moved on. Obviously Warrens situation was different from mine,... after all he was a more gifted boxer than I was a wrestler. Maybe Warren had a different kind of committment. Maybe he had a dream. I wish an amateur boxing coach could arise from the ashes with the ability to motivate and inspire athletes like Martin Luther King inspired a nation to rise above the status quo during the 60's. But what the USA needs is a system. A consistant system with the resources to provide the same level of support and quality of care that Cuba and Russian(the new Russia) have. The world has caught up with us talentwise and the current ad-hock method of throwing together divergent talent from varying neighborhood gyms with varying levels of talent is not working. It's time for Team USA to build a Machine. A Machine that runs as fluently and melifluously as the vocals of Curt Cobain.... as consitant as the sunrise and as forceful the hurricanes that hit our southern shores. This will take considerable money, time resources and committment.... and it must happen..... like yesterday. I say..... divert money from NASA, the CIA and from searching for a new source of clean renewable fuel if necessary. But it must happen. It's an abomination for the USA to not posess the best Amateur Boxing Team on the Planet. Either that or create the dream team....Broner at 135, Pac at 140, Floyd at 151, Ward at 165, Kitschko at super heavy (hey wait does he still have US citizenship???) and Steward and Roach as Coach.

-Radam G :

It obvious to me about Rau'shee. He has a sublimical want-to-not-be-at-the-top-of-the-ladder problem because of the reasonably large amount of money that he has received as an amateur for the last eight years. And he may just attempt to try to stay that way for four more wasted years. [I doubt that he'd get paid that well as a pro.] What da know nothings don't know, is that Rau'shee is comfortable with the stipends, per diem, WSB salary and other payments that he has been getting for the last eight years as a U.S. top amateur gun. In that time, he has made over $750,000. What low-confident intercity kid wouldn't stay in da game for that kind of chicken fee. If any of the know nothings and fakers want to challenging me on that, go ahead. But I have access and inside knowledge that you will never get. Don't believe the bullshyt that many amateurs want to go pro for the pay. Many of the weak and scary ones, as Rau'shee, would have to take a paycut. Calling on TSS superscribe S To. Maybe you need to put on your investigator hat and show the crowd how pay to stay works in amateur boxing. Holla!