James Johnson likes to do more than win his fights. He likes to put on a show, too.
Johnson, a heavyweight from Lawrence, Mass., was penalized a point by the referee for horesplay during his U.S. Olympic Festival gold medal fight Wednesday night. Even so, Johnson beat Randal Crippen of Stanford, Mich., 5-0."Everybody underestimates me because I'm sneaky, I'm skinny, I'm little and I play when I want to play," Johnson said. "Like Ali says - it's entertainment."
Johnson spent most of the fight dancing and throwing two- and three-punch combinations while Crippen stalked for the knockout.
"It was fun," Johnson said.
The fifth day of the festival saw five wrestlers put their names in the record books, while a water polo player failed in his ninth attempt to win a gold medal. The festival also was affected by rain, which prompted a postponement of the baseball medal games.
Track and field and diving were scheduled to get under way tonight, and men's gymnastics was scheduled to resume with the all-around and team competition.
Two disputed 3-2 decisions elicited boos from the boxing crowd at the St. Paul Civic Center.
Jaime Lerma of Waco, Texas, lost to Patrick Byrd of Flint, Mich., at 147 pounds, even though he dominated the third round. And at 112 pounds, 16-year-old Juan Delgado of Fort Worth, Texas, appeared to have the upper hand but lost to Marcel Brown of Philadelphia.
"The judges must have been watching a different fight," Lerma said. "Thousands of people here agree with me."
Delgado was so upset that tears welled up in his eyes and he could barely speak.
"I knew I had the fight won," he whispered.
U.S. champion Steve Johnston of Denver lost a 4-1 decision to Ronald Wright of St. Petersburg, Fla., in the 139-pound match.
For water polo player Scott Schulte of Mahwah, N.J., going home without a gold medal has become commonplace. This was his ninth festival, and each time he has had to settle for silver or bronze.
"In the investment business right now, silver is pretty cheap relative to gold," Schulte, an investment broker, said after his East team lost to the South 6-5.
The East had two good shots on goal in the closing minute of the last quarter, but Richard Russey's drive was knocked away with 47 seconds left and Thomas Tomsheck's lob bounced off the crossbar as time ran out.
The women's water polo gold went to the West, which got four goals from Maureen Mendoza in beating the South 11-8.
Five wrestlers accomplished what only one other festival wrestler had done - win gold medals in freestyle and Greco-Roman.
Those who won Greco-Roman titles Wednesday night were Brandon Paulson (105.5) of Anoka, Minn.; Marco Sanchez (136.5) of San Jose, Calif.; Brad Knouse (180.5) of Irving, Texas; Dan Troupe (198) of Kalispell, Mont., and Steve King (220) of Janesville, Minn.