With his first-round bout scheduled for Saturday, American welterweight Fernando Vargas of Oxnard has reluctantly decided to bypass Friday night's opening ceremonies.
"At first, I was trying to think of a way I could do it, if I could leave the ceremony early," Vargas said. "But that's not what they're going to let you do. You have to stay through the whole thing, and the athletes aren't going to get back to the village to something like 1 or 2 a.m. I can't do that.
"It'd make me tired. We're on our feet the whole time, so I figure I'll make up for it by closing with a gold medal around my neck. That'll make it well worth it."
Zahir Raheem, the team's 119-pound representative, also is fighting Saturday and also has opted to skip the ceremonies.
U.S. Coach Al Mitchell was pleased by the two fighters' decisions.
"You don't want to go to the opening ceremonies and then be tired, worn out, flat," said Mitchell, who said the 1992 team members who marched then fought the next day suffered for it.