Lesson learned, Luis Yanez
BEIJING –- Luis Yanez is back on the U.S. boxing team.
And with the first bout in the 106-pound weight class just a week away, everyone is trying to put the feud that led to his suspension behind them.
“Luis and I have never had a problem,” head coach Dan Campbell said. “In all reality, Luis got some very bad advice. That’s all there is to it.”
The advice in question led Yanez, a Pan American Games gold medalist and two-time national champion, to miss, without permission, three weeks of training camp and a team trip to Argentina.
In response, he was kicked off the team three weeks before the U.S. boxers left for China. Following protracted negotiations, Yanez was reinstated after publicly apologizing to USA Boxing, his coaches and teammates.
“I’m glad it’s all over,” Yanez said after a team workout here Tuesday. “Everybody always has a lesson to learn. There’s some roads that you take. And I chose that road. It wasn’t the right road, I’ll let you know that.
“[But] it made me real strong. It really did.”
It also may have made the 19-year-old a little cocky. When a trio of Chinese reporters asked Yanez if he had anything to say to two-time world champion Zou Shi Ming, the most successful amateur boxer in China’s history -- and a likely Yanez opponent here -- Yanez responded “nihao,” the Chinese word for hello. “I’m going to leave the rest of it in the ring.”
Earlier, however, when the same reporters asked Yanez if he had taken in any of Beijing’s sights, he said he had been to the silk market, famous for its handmade suits, where he is having a black outfit made.
“That way I can wear my gold medal with it,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big upset,” he said. “There’s no way he can be working two or three times harder than me. I’m looking forward to having that gold medal around my neck.”
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Boxer Luis Yanez celebrates after wining an Aug. 25, 2007, fight during the finals of the U.S. Olympic team boxing trials in Houston. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press