BEIJING -- It's boxing that gets 73-year-old
Juan Leon Estrada is back in Los Angeles waging his own fight against cancer, as his heart, kidney and liver fail him. "Doctors gave him a few months to live," says Estrada, 23. In Shawn's room in the Olympic Village, he has a boxing glove signed by members of his family. His father wrote, in Spanish, "I gotta' get up every morning because of you."
And after Estrada's dominating 10-2 victory in the first round of the Olympic tournament over Argentina's
Estrada improved to 2-0 against Maderna -- he beat him 4-1 earlier this year at the Americas Qualifier II -- by working around the outside of the ring, and scoring with surgical counterpunches whenever Maderna lunged inside to attempt a combination. Maderna eventually resorted to clinching for his defense, perhaps because, as Team U.S.A. head coach
After his victory, Estrada joked that his father was "probably out running right now" with excitement. The father and son spoke the night before the fight, and Juan Leon told Shawn "'Buena suerte,'" Shawn says, "good luck, even though he said I don't need it."
Estrada, a first generation American, will probably be able to use a little luck in his next career as well, to go with his bravery. The son of a factory cutter --"just a normal Mexican," as Estrada calls his father -- is studying fire technology and training to become a firefighter.
If he wins his next bout, Estrada will have a fire to put out in the ring, as he'll have to face two-time world champion
Win or lose, Estrada is sure get another resounding ovation for his next fight, on August 16 against Britain's