Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Olympics

What the experts said: Paddy will be devastated by his defeat in Rio... now fans and friends have to rally round him

Brian Magee: It was a big shock for Paddy Barnes to lose his first fight at the Rio Olympics.

Everyone was expecting big things from Paddy. So was the man himself. For him to lose to the Spanish boxer Samuel Carmona Heredia yesterday came as a major surprise.

Paddy will be devastated. Going to the Olympics he will have had his mind on doing well in Rio and also thinking about his future and possibly turning professional.

There was so much at stake for Paddy. And out of all the Irish boxers at the Olympics you would have thought that Paddy could go all the way.

He had already proved himself a great Olympic boxer by winning medals in 2008 and 2012.

To hold on for another four years and compete in his third Olympics was some going. I'm sure in that time he has had offers to turn professional.

He has had four years of hard work, four years of fighting and four years of planning with the goal to win gold in Rio. To come away with nothing will be shattering for him.

In the past he has always come away with a medal and this is going to be new to him.

Mentally this will be a tough one to take because he will be in a land of uncertainty.

Uncertain about his future, uncertain about boxing in relation to what he will do and where he will turn.

My own hope is that Paddy stays in boxing because I believe he has plenty left to give.

He is such a great character with so much to give and I hope he doesn't hang up the gloves.

I don't think he will. I don't see him as that type of guy. He will probably need a bit of time away from boxing to see what he will do next.

Now this is a time for his fans and friends to rally round and show Paddy lots of support.

Brian Magee is a former super-middleweight World champion

Eamonn O’Kane: At the minute, Paddy will need to keep his head for the next two weeks and put everything he can into being the best supporter he can be for all of his teammates.

I’m sure he’ll do that and, afterwards, I think he’s tailor-made for the pro game. He’ll be fantastic and I think he’ll go on and conquer the world. He’s undoubtedly one of the best boxers in the world, never mind one of the best amateurs.

He was still able to throw punches yesterday but he’ll box at a weight more natural to him. I think he’d do well at any comfortable weight because of the volume of the punches he throws.

He’s done more than anyone as an amateur. He had nothing left to prove and that’s still the case. He has a medal from every competition worth talking about and been a bright, burning star of Irish boxing.

Go pro, tick that box and make good money. There’s no shame in what happened and he should hold his head high.

Eamonn O’Kane was intercontinental m’weight champion

Darren Corbett: I was very disappointed to see Paddy go out yesterday but watching the fight I thought if it went to a split decision the other guy would get it because Paddy just didn’t do enough.

To me Paddy looked very drained at the weight.

He is a non stop puncher and there were times in that fight that he looked very tired and that’s not Paddy Barnes.

He obviously had to work really hard to make his weight and that took it out of him. Personally I don’t think Paddy  should be fighting at light flyweight. He should be fighting up a weight, though I still thought that he would make the final and win gold.

His defeat is not just a big blow to the Irish boxers, it will be a massive loss to the whole Ireland team because Paddy is a two-time Olympic medallist and such a big character.

In terms of the future now Paddy needs to turn pro and I believe within eight to 10 fights he could win the British flyweight title and go on to win the European title too.

Darren Corbett was Commonwealth cruiserweight king

Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley: If I was in Paddy’s shoes, there’s absolutely no question I’d be going pro.

He’s not long turned 29 so he has two or three good years at the professional level in him and it would make a massive difference. Massive.

There’d be a lot of things to learn, and he’d have to do it all in a fairly rapid fashion because he needs to make his mark quickly, but he’s already achieved all he can as an amateur.

What’s possibly left for Paddy there?

We’re talking about one of, if not the, best Irish amateur of all-time. All of the medals he has already don’t suddenly disappear because of what happened yesterday. He has proven himself time and time and time again as an amateur. If I was him I’d give the pro game a real go and see what happens.

He’s obviously struggling to make the weight as it is now. That’s something he’s said before and it was a real battle for him this time.

Think about taking away all that struggle and sacrifice and the difference that could make to him going into his first fights.

The options are there. He could fight at flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight. I think even he would be surprised at the difference it’d make. You take away that struggle and all of a sudden, it’s not just that you fatigue less quickly, but your punches will have a lot more behind them too.

You’re sapped of your energy when you have to cut to make weight. Without that, he’d be a much more powerful fighter than he is now and that would be a big boost.

It’s not just physical either, mentally he’d find himself in a much better place going in.

Larne’s Dave McAuley retained the IBF Flyweight World title five times

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph