Originally created 07/31/98

Hudson faces boxer from Cuba in finals



NEW YORK -- Jacob Hudson is in the middle of a boxing rivalry between the United States and Cuba.

Augusta's Hudson, the No. 1-ranked 132-pounder in the United States, faces Cuba's Mario Kindelan in tonight's Goodwill Games lightweight gold-medal bout in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Home Box Office will televise the bouts from 11 p.m.-1 a.m., with Hudson's bout likely to be one of the later fights.

On Tuesday, the United States gained three victories over Cuba. But the Cubans came back Wednesday to win two of three bouts with Americans, including Olympic heavyweight champion Felix Savon and bantamweight Waldemar Font, the world championship silver medalist.

"Cuba is such a tough team," Hudson said. "They're older and more mature. Doing well against them shows something. I'm just going to go in there and let in all flow out."

Hudson beat Aleksandr Leonov of Russia on Wednesday night with a tiebreaker decision. He has secured at least the silver medal in the competition.

Kindelan outpointed Russian world champion Aleksandr Maletin 19 to 15 on Wednesday night to advance to the finals.

Hudson said he has not seen Kindelan fight, but his father, Joel, said that Kindelan is a left-hander "who is probably the quickest person Jacob has faced." Joel said it will be important for Jacob to fight a defensive fight instead of being overly aggressive like Maletin was in his semifinal loss to Kindelan.

Hudson said the atmosphere in the Goodwill Games has given him inspiration. A friend of the Hudson family made up posters and passed them out to the crowd before Wednesday's bout, and the pro-U.S. fans cheered for Hudson.

"I guess I have a style that people really like to watch," Hudson said. "The crowd support has really helped out a lot. It makes me fight a lot harder."