Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teofilo Stevenson

Not many fighters possessed the one punch "POP!" that Stevenson scarried in his right hand.  Witness one punch KO's over great amateurs like Dwayne Bobick. And Teofilo always made it look easy beating all the great amateur heavyweights of the day.  

Many fans thought he could beat M. Ali, if he was given the opportunity to fight as a professional boxer.  Alas, he was a devoted Cuban national and no amount of money could tempt him to defect from his country and his ideals.  He was a great man in the days when values meant something.  

We have witnessed the destruction of Mike Tyson by the temptations layed out before him by Don King and other corrupt influences.  He squandered all the hundreds of millions of dollars he allegedly earned.  Robin Givens tried to have his expenses and other fees paid to King accounted for.  Mike went off the rails and who knows how that turned out.

Tribute to Teofilo Stevenson:

Boxer Teofilo Stevenson loyal to Cuba's revolution

Teofilo Stevenson won his third gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics


Three-times Olympic gold medallist Teofilo Stevenson died on 11 June. 

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford went to his funeral and met some of the people inspired by
the late boxer who turned down millions of dollars to fight Muhammad Ali.

He was Cuba's greatest boxer, once its most famous figure after Fidel Castro
, and huge numbers of people had come to remember him - fellow Olympic champions, many in their tracksuits, jostled alongside everyone else.

Stevenson's open coffin stood in a side-room - draped in the national flag, red boxing gloves resting on top. The crowd filed in slowly, taking it in turns to stand alongside in an honour guard.

The boxer was just 60 when he died, and I saw a few people wiping away quiet tears. But most seemed there less to mourn, than to commemorate a sporting legend.

Teofilo Stevenson brought home three consecutive Olympic gold medals for Cuba in 1972, 1976 and 1980.

A poster boy for the Communist sports system, with a destructive right hand, he was unrivaled in the amateur ring for many years, a world champion several times over.

But when he turned down millions of dollars to fight Muhammad Ali, he also became a powerful symbol of loyalty to Cuba's revolution.

The fight with Ali would have been a fantasy clash between the two greatest heavyweights of their generation. But Fidel Castro had banned professional sport as corrupting.

Stevenson would have had to defect and he claimed the affection of "millions of Cubans" was more important.


                                              Stevenson won gold in Moscow in 1980

Castro's tribute to Teofilo Stevenson appeared in Granma, the Communist Party newspaper.

"No other amateur boxer in history shone so brightly," Mr Castro declared, hailing Stevenson's talent first, then his loyalty.

Cuba invests heavily in sport, only to see many of its finest defect in frustration, seeking better pay and opportunities overseas but Stevenson,  "could not be bought for all the money in the world", said Fidel.

And so it was the patriot - and true Olympian - as well as the maestro that the crowds stood and applauded here as Stevenson was driven through the streets of Havana this week for one last time.

"Teofilo Stevenson will always be in the heart of the Cuban people. He will never be erased," Juantorena said

BBC News - Boxer Teofilo Stevenson's loyalty to Cuba's revolution

Cuba's Mister Boxing

Teofilo Stevenson, Cuba's Olympic Champion goes for gold at the PanAm Games, Mexico City.

Comments by Sugar Ray Leonard 

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