MOSCOW — After 48 hours of contemplation, the Jury of the Competition--three Soviets and one American, met Thursday morning to rule on the case of Harvey Richards of Springfield, Ill., vs. Niels Hausgaard Madsen of Denmark.
The jury's decision? No decision.
That was the path of least resistance because Madsen had already left for home.
Fighting Richards in the quarterfinals of Goodwill Games boxing Tuesday, Madsen was doubled over in the second round by a low blow. The Soviet referee, Yuri Frolov, declared Madsen the winner, although according to international rules, Frolov should have deducted a point from Richards and resumed the bout.
The Americans protested, and Frolov was disqualified from officiating during the rest of the competition. Madsen, however, was allowed to advance to Thursday night's semifinals.
The Americans then filed a formal protest, and after a protocol dispute over which body would hear it, the Jury of the Competition of the Goodwill Games was selected.
By that time, Madsen had become ill and withdrawn.
At least that was the story told by U.S. officials.
A Danish official said Madsen was frustrated by the confusion and didn't feel like fighting any more.
He also indicated that Madsen didn't want any part of his intended semifinal opponent, the Soviet Union's Andrei Karavaev.
Madsen's mama didn't raise a fool. Richards, who didn't learn until noon Thursday that he had replaced Madsen in the semifinals, lasted about a minute into the third round before Karavaev knocked him out. He was hit with a combination, but Richards went down as if the scoreboard above the ring at the Olympic Sports Complex had fallen on him.
It has been that kind of tournament for the U.S. team, starting even before the fighting began. The Pentagon ruled that 11 boxers--10 from the military and one Defense Department civilian--were not allowed to participate. Reinforcements were sent, but they looked good only in the team picture.
Of the 23 American boxers, 3 advanced to Saturday night's finals.
Parker White, a middleweight from Richmond, Calif., beat the Soviet Union's Andrei Akulov Thursday afternoon, and lightweight Romallis Ellis of Atlanta won on points against the Soviet Union's Yuri Savochkin Thursday night. Flyweight Arthur Johnson of East St. Louis, Ill., had won his semifinal bout Tuesday night.
The victories by White and Ellis are the only two that Americans have scored in 13 bouts against the Soviets, who have lost four times in the entire tournament, once in a walkover.
The Soviets have finalists in all 12 weight classes, including both finalists in five events, which should make Saturday a red letter day.
Have the Soviets been that good? Or has the judging been that biased?
U.S. Coach Roosevelt Sanders opted for the former.
"They're boxing style has improved," he said. "They've copied from the West. They don't come at you from a stand-up position so much any more. There's a lot of lateral motion, slipping punches and counter punching."
Sanders said the judging had been "very fair overall," although he had a couple of complaints Thursday.
He was particularly upset about the decision Tuesday afternoon that had gone against light middleweight Michael Moorer, a national champion from Monessen, Pa.
Moorer, who was beaten by Victor Egorov of the Soviet Union, 3-2, charged that it was a hometown decision, even though there was not a Soviet on the five-man panel.
The difference was made by a Romanian judge, who scored the bout a draw but gave the edge to the Soviet for aggressiveness.
"If we'd been in the U.S., that bout would have gone to Michael Moorer," said Sanders, who thought that the American had been the aggressor in two of the three rounds. "If it's the Soviets vs. the U.S., the U.S. won't get one bout. But if the Soviet team came to Sacramento, they'd get fair decisions."
Sanders admitted later that he had spoken in a fit of anger and, upon reviewing the judges' cards for the semifinals, found it difficult to make a case for collusion in favor of the Soviets.
In the other bout that Sanders thought should have gone the other way, light welterweight Roy Jones of Pensacola, Fla., lost Thursday night to Igor Ruzhnikov of the Soviet Union, 4-1. A Soviet voted against the American. But so did an American, and the Soviet had it scored closer than the American. The only judge voting for Jones was a Romanian.
There was no doubt about the other American losses, especially the one by Richards, who was awarded a bronze medal, as was Denmark's Madsen.
Later, Richards was near tears.
"I was really ready for this tournament," he said. "Then, something like this happens, and it takes all the strength out of you. I tried to get myself mentally up, but I didn't have anything left for the fight.
"A trauma like this really takes a lot out of you. It hurts."
So does Andrei Karavaev's left-right combination, which Niels Hausgaard Madsen managed to avoid.