TOKYO – The message got mixed up somewhere during the break between the first and second rounds.
One of the coaches told Carlo Paalam that his score for his match against Irishman Brendan Irvine in the men’s flyweight preliminaries for the Tokyo Olympics was 5-0.
The problem was, they didn’t say who was ahead. And while it was obviously the Cagayan de Oro-born boxer who had used an effective and precise counterattack to pierce his enemy like a glutton over a rodent, no one made it clear to Paalam.
“Carlo was told the score was 5-0 and he thought it was 5-0 backwards,” said coach Don Abnett. “He threw caution to the wind and when he started exchanging blows, it allowed his opponent to get back into the fight.”
While his misplaced aggression helped build an early lead, it came at a cost. She traded precious staying power for him and he was visibly nearly depleted in the last round and a half.
Somehow, he found a way to summon all that he had left within him.
“You saw how I was really tired, but I kept hitting because I really wanted to win for my family, for [Team Philippines]”Paalam said, still panting long after the match ended.
“I am grateful to have won my first fight,” he added. “Even if he was close, you saw that I really gave him everything I had left.”
Part of Paalam’s motivation was the fact that he had trained too hard for this moment to let it slip away.
“Did I go through a very long training session only to lose?” he said. “I just poured it all out.”
“We were reading each other. We were measuring each other. But in the last round I gave everything I had left. “INQ
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