KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Malaysian fans inside Hall 8 of MiTEC were only warming up their cheers and chants for the final boxing match of the day, when in a flurry of fists and sweat, it was all over.
John Marvin, the Filipino-British boxer who is representing the Philippines for the first time, made stunningly quick work of his Malaysian foe, Adli Hafiz Mohd Pauzi – winning the gold medal bout in just 21 seconds.
All it took was four punches to the head and the jaw of his seemingly unprepared opponent, who for some reason walked into the center of the ring with his guard down.
"You come out with your hands down, you're gonna get hurt," said the 24-year-old Marvin, who took longer walking into the ring than in winning his bout. "When we get in there, we get there to destroy people."
"Nothing more, nothing less. We get in there to win," he added confidently.
After Marvin landed the fourth punch of his vicious combination, the referee stepped in to check on the Malaysian boxer, who looked visibly groggy and out of balance. The Malaysian fans inside Hall 8 were confused, wondering why Marvin was already celebrating with his coaches in the blue corner.
It was clear, however, that Pauzi was in no condition to continue, and Marvin was announced as the winner of the gold medal for the light-heavyweight division.
"I expected to get in there and do the best I could," he said. "The fact that it finished so soon was just fortunate on my part."
Marvin's swift, decisive win ensured that there would be controversy in judging, especially as he was fighting a hometown boxer. Just a few days earlier, Marvin and the rest of the Philippine boxers were stunned when one of their teammates, Carlo Paalam, was ousted in the quarters by a Malaysian pugilist.
"I didn't want to be on the end of a decision, where it was going to be left in the host country's hands to decide my fate," he said bluntly.
Thanks to Marvin, the Philippines now has 13 golds in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Another one of his teammates, Eumir Marcial, also won his own final in the middleweight tournament before he climbed up to the ring for his own bout.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)