MOBILE, Ala. – Middleweight Edgar Alvarado, Jr. of Sacramento, Calif., needed some motivation after being down a point and having a point taken away during day three of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials on Tuesday night.
To make matters worse, his coach, Ian Franklin, was ejected from the ring.
All it did was motivate Alvarado, as he came on strong in the third round to defeat D'Mitrius Ballard of Temple Hills, Md., 26-24 to advance to the next round on Wednesday.
"I was down a point, and my coach (Franklin) told me to pick it up," Alvarado said. "I don't know if they took off a point for holding or pushing, but I guess they threw my coach out because he was shouting too loud or something."
Whatever it was, Alvarado began throwing more punches in the third round as he took advantage of Ballard's fatigue.
"Halfway through the second round, I noticed he was getting tired, so I was motivated to pick it up," Alvarado said.
"I knew he was going to give it a shot," Franklin said. "Everybody competing is in such an elite status, and tonight it was a battle of wills."
Another battle of wills came in the heavyweight division, where Steve Geffard faced unseeded Robert Jekabson of Chicago. Jekabson, a crowd favorite, made a name for himself in the earlier bouts, and gave Geffard a handful in the opening round.
But Geffard, who had an eight-month layoff prior to the trials and lost to Michael Hunter the night before, had no intentions of losing — especially in a win-or-go-home situation — and began to utilize his left jab to tack on points.
Jekabson came on strong in round three, but Geffard began moving more and connected with the left jabs again. It proved to be the difference, as Geffard took a 23-20 decision, much to the dismay of Jekabson's fans.
"I've fought Jekabson before, and I knew he was tough inside, so I knew I couldn't stand in front of him," Geffard said. "I had to use the jab and put on a boxing clinic. I was a little rusty after the layoff, but tonight, I felt great."
It was that kind of night, with at least eight fights decided by two points or fewer. Four of the fights were decided on tiebreakers, and there were three disqualifications.
The most notable disqualification came when Semajay Thomas, a favorite in the light welterweight division, was disqualified because he failed to make weight. His opponent, Duran Caferro, advanced.
One of the most exciting bouts not requiring a tiebreaker was the Toka Kahn Clary-Erick DeLeon lightweight bout.
DeLeon threw a large amount of punches in the early going, but the second-seeded Clary eked out a 20-19 win, thanks to a strong flurry of punches in the final round.
A flyweight challengers' match between No. 2 seed Oscar Cantu and No. 1 seed John Franklin came down to a tiebreaker, with Cantu winning 78-73.
Another match requiring a tiebreaker was a light welterweight bout between Michael Reed and George Rincon. Rincon won 110-108, which brought boos from fans who thought Reed won the fight.