|06-13-2012, 12:10 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Legend of fighter who turned down Ali bout
Teofilo Stevenson with Muhammad Ali in 1996. Picture: AFP Source: Herald Sun
SAD to hear of the death of champion Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson from a heart
attack on Tuesday at the age of 60. The triple Olympic heavyweight gold medallist,
regarded as one of the best fighters of his time, turned down millions to fight Muhammad
Ali. "What is a million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?" Stevenson said
when he turned down the Ali fight after winning gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
I saw Stevenson win the second of his three gold medals at the Montreal Forum that day.
On a finals card that included future US world champions Leon and Michael Spinks and Sugar
Ray Leonard, winning gold, Stevenson stood out as the outstanding fighter. Accidentally
sitting next to rock star Mick Jagger, we joined the crowd in jeering as Romanian Mircea
Simion ran around the ring for two rounds, avoiding the slightest engagement with Stevenson,
who had demolished his three previous opponents in just seven minutes in the ring.
In the final round, at his first attempt to throw a punch with a very long jab, Simion was
floored and his corner immediately threw in the towel. Stevenson will be remembered as the
greatest boxer to never turn professional. He was one of only three to win three Olympic titles
and would probably have won a fourth gold in 1984 but for the Cuban boycott in Los Angeles.
He retired in 1986 after 302 wins and only 22 losses. Most of the losses were in his early career
in the '70s, with an 11-year unbeaten run until 1982. But boxing fans will always regret that the
dream fight with Ali never took place.
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7 Min Video about Stevenson
RIP Stevenson. Thoughts?