Top Men: Olympic Boxing

What do you think of when you hear the words “Olympic boxing”? Maybe you recall a young Cassius Clay or Joe Frazier showing off their gold medals? Or perhaps you smile when you remember Sugar Ray Leonard or Howard Davis Jr. in Montreal saluting enthusiastic crowds as they boxed their way to the top of the podium? Maybe you have similar recollections of guys like Pernell Whitaker, Teofilo Stevenson, Meldrick Taylor, Lennox Lewis and Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Leon Spinks heard the cheers in 1976.
Leon Spinks heard the cheers in 1976.

But there’s just as likely a chance that instead of recalling the great achievements in Olympic boxing you instead recall the moments of ineptitude and injustice. There have been too many robberies, too many incompetent or corrupt officials. We discussed the disgrace that was boxing at the Olympics in London in 2012 and why we refuse to offer extensive coverage. Considering all the howls of outrage presently emanating from Rio, it remains the right choice.

But Patrick Connor and Aris Pina of Top Men Boxing Radio decided it’s a good time to look back and take a close look at the history of Olympic boxing and consider anew both the highlights and the disappointments. In addition to recalling all the great boxers for whom an Olympic gold medal was a springboard into success at the professional level, they also talk about the recent inclusion of women’s boxing, the dominance of Cuba, and the rise of the former Soviet Bloc countries in amateur pugilism.

Claressa Shields: women's boxing takes its rightful place.
Claressa Shields: women’s boxing takes its rightful place.

As always, Connor and Pina offer new insights and much to think about and a lively discussion on all things boxing history. Check it out and enjoy another episode of Top Men Boxing Radio:

“We all thought Olympic boxing was in deplorable shape back in 1988 when the officials blatantly, shamelessly, robbed Roy Jones Jr. of a gold medal and then turned around and voted him the best boxer in the tournament. That same year referees who attempted to uphold the rules of the sport were actually assaulted by coaches and handlers of defeated boxers. It was so bad there was talk of taking boxing out of the Olympics. But now it’s even worse. No one can understand the scoring, or the actions of the referees, or the various point deductions, and more often than not the wrong boxer wins.”            — From “The Farce That Is Olympic Boxing” by Robert Portis

iconic rio
Already an iconic image.
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