Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Young Teofilo Stevenson

The heavyweight division, is by far the most watched and respected class in both amateur and professional boxing. The big men who compete at this division atract more fans and more media than any other. It is without a doubt what boxing is all about. Even people who have never heard of the smaller weight champions know of Ali, Foreman and Tyson. In recent times however, the Heavyweight division has been suffering from a real Champion not to say that there are not any good talented heavyweights out there. Names like the Klitschko's stand out but the present Heavyweight division lacks a real true Champion. A Champion that always dominates and never leaves any doubt or controversy behind his win. This is of course, not possible in today's heavyweights.
Let's take a moment now and look back at one great men who in their time were simply " unstoppable ".. Even though he never competed in the pros, it's very safe to say that he would have been without a doubt one the best Heavyweights in the history of boxing. His achievements in the amateurs are so remarkable that simply he was in a class of his own. The Island of Cuba has produced excellent fighters of all weight classes. The Eastern part of Cuba called " Oriente " is where he came from. His dominance was so unrivaled that he simply collected Gold medals for a living beating along the way, every single heavyweight contender from every country.
Stevenson, at 6'6 tall was an all around perfect, power puncher and physically gifted fighter, that was any " trainer's dream come true ". He started his boxing career at the early age of 9 years old and since there simply became a Boxing Legend. For some of us who have never seen Stevenson in action, it's very encouraging to see him as he was a phenomenom that only comes around every 50 or 100 years. Stevenson would have been a force to be wreckon with and would have gone down in history as one of the best Heavyweights of all times. Even though he was an " amateur " like his profession said, he showed a polished professional technique and was an excellent competitor outside the ring as well. His ring movements, his speed, footwork, accuracy and Power was simply unmatched for a person so tall like him. If he would be fighting today in the pros, today's heavyweights would not stand a chance with this Cuban great. He would simply outclass the competition.
(Adapted from Leon de Juda at EAST SIDE BOXING)
Born in Las Tunas’s municipality of Puerto Padre, three-time Olympic heavyweight boxing champion Teofilo Stevenson is considered a perfect gentleman by his adversaries. With gold medals from the 1972, ‘76 and ’80 Olympic Games and a longtime reputation for sportsmanship, Stevenson has received numerous honors, including UNESCO’s Pierre de Cubartin fair play prize in 1989.At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, he was the only Latin American among 25 athletes honored in ceremonies commemorating the centenary of the modern Olympics. Stevenson retired from the ring in 1986. In 2000, at the age of 52, he was made vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation and deputy in Cuba’s parliament. In a country with a wealth of talented boxers, a land where the sport of boxing ranks second only to baseball in spectator popularity the legend of Teofilo Stevenson and his 20-year amateur career lives on.

Born March 29, 1952, he is one of the only three boxers to win three Olympic gold medals, alongside Hungarian László Papp and fellow Cuban Felix Savon. T the age of twenty, Stevenson joined the Cuban boxing team for the Munich Olympics of 1972 with high hopes resting on his performance. His opening bout against experienced Polish fighter Ludwik Denderys began dramatically when Stevenson knocked the other man down within thirty seconds of the opening bell. The fight was stopped moments later due to a large cut next to the Pole's eye.
Proceeding to the quarter finals, Stevenson met fancied American boxer Duane Bobick. Bobick, a gold medalist at the 1971 Pan American Games, had beaten Stevenson previously, and was considered favorite to continue the U.S. team's dominance of the weight division; previous American gold medalists included George Foreman (1968) and Joe Frazier (1964). After a close first round, Stevenson lost the second, but a ferocious display in the third round knocked Bobick to the canvas three times and the contest was stopped. The victory was viewed on television throughout Cuba, and is still considered Stevenson's most memorable performance.
Stevenson easily defeated German Peter Hussing in the semi final, and received his gold medal after Romanian Ion Alexe failed to appear in the final due to injury. The Cuban boxing team won three gold medals, their first in Olympic boxing history, as well as one silver and one bronze medal. The Munich games established Cuba's dominance over the amateur sport that was to last decades. It also established Stevenson as the world's premier amateur heavyweight boxer.
Stevenson did the same at the inaugural 1974 World Championships in Havana, Cuba, and then in the 1976 Summer Olympics, held in Montreal, Stevenson repeated the feat once again. By then, he had become a national hero in Cuba, where he had become a household name. This was the point where he was the closest to signing a professional contract, American fight promoters offering him the amount of five million dollars to challenge world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in his first professional bout, which would have made him the second boxer to go straight from the Olympics into a professional debut with the world's Heavyweight crown on the line, after Pete Rademacher. But he refused, asking "What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?"
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Teofilo Stevenson, 1979

Stevenson went to the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and became the second boxer ever, after Papp, to win three Olympic boxing gold medals. At the 2000 Summer Olympics, Félix Savón, also from Cuba, became the third boxer to achieve this feat.
Stevenson participated at the 1982 World Championships in Munich, but lost to the eventual silver medalist and future professional world champion Francesco Damiani from Italy. This fight ended a 11 years of unbeaten run from Stevenson and it was the only occasion that he did not win the gold medal at the World Championships when he entered the competition.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Stevenson might have won a fourth gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, but the Soviet Union boycotted the games in retaliation for the United States boycott of the 1980 Moscow competition. Cuba followed the Soviet lead, and Stevenson was deprived of the chance to earn a fourth gold. For consolation, he beat the future Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs in February 1984. In 1986 at the World Amateur Boxing Championships in the USA he won the super heavyweight gold, defeating Alex Garcia from the United States in the final. He retired from boxing shortly after the Olympics. During his career as a boxer, he won 302 fights and lost only 22.In addition, Stevenson never managed to avenge the two telling defeats in his amateur career, to Igor Vysotsky of Russia, who decisioned and kayoed him.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Tony Duffy/Allsport
From CNN/Sports Illustrated


Olympic results:
Defeated Ludwik Denderys (Poland) TKO 1
Defeated Duane Bobick (United States) TKO 3
Defeated Peter Hussing (West Germany) TKO 2
Defeated Ion Alexe (Romania) walk-over

1st round bye
Defeated Mamadou Drame (Senegal) KO 2
Defeated Pekka Ruokola (Finland) KO 1
Defeated John Tate (United States) KO 1
Defeated Mircea Simon (Romania) TKO 3

Defeated Solomon Ataga (Nigeria) KO 1
Defeated Grzegorz Skrzecz (Poland) KO 3
Defeated István Lévai (Hungary) 5-0
Defeated Piotr Zaev (Soviet Union) 4-1

Teofilo Stevenson VS Istvan Levai of Hungary
1980 Olympic Games
Scanned from the cover of magazine SKDA
(Sports Committee of the Friendly Armies)
Sports Review (Russian-language version), 1989, issue 2
Published in GDR by the Military publisher
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cuban champion Teofilo Stevenson, 1980
Images from

Stevenson had so little competition at the 1980 Moscow Games, partly because of the U.S. boycott, that he seemed profoundly bored by the experience. He KO'd his first two opponents, but then, after nine straight Olympic knockouts, was obliged to go the three-round distance against the last two—a cowering Hungarian, Istvan Levai, and a runtish Soviet, Pyotr Zaev. The Moscow fans whistled in derision as Stevenson strode, unmarked, scarcely even perspiring, from the ring as a three-time champion. There was also the suspicion that, approaching 30, his once formidable talent was in decline.
(Ron Fimrite at SI Olympic Dailies)
For the better part of a decade fight promoters in the U.S. vainly beseeched him to defect and take on the likes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in bouts worth countless millions. But the only gold Cuban heavyweight Teofil-Stevenson seemingly cared about was Olympic gold, and he won more than his share of that. In fact, because he refused to turn professional and leave his homeland, he became the only three-time heavyweight boxing gold medalist in Olympic history. And in the process he left avaricious promoters Don King and Bob Arum moaning in despair over what might have been.
At the 1972 Munich Games, when, at 20, he KO'd three straight opponents, including future American professional Duane Bobick, while fighting, Stevenson later revealed, with a fractured right hand. At the Montreal Games four years later, he KO'd four more fighters, including American John Tate, to win his second gold. By then fight fans worldwide were apoplectic, for Stevenson had all the requisite gifts—size (6'3", 220), hand and foot speed, and a gorgeous righthand knockout punch. And with his finely chiseled features and rippling physique, he was even more handsome than Ali.
"He's the most perfectly balanced fighter I ever saw," said veteran U.S. trainer Emanuel Steward.
"He'd be phenomenal as a pro," said an enraptured King. "In a class with Ali and Frazier."
Only Ali seemed to entertain doubts, dismissing Stevenson as "a good amateur, a three-round fighter. If he's offered $2 million and he don't take it, he's a damn fool."
(Ron Fimrite at SI Olympic Dailies)

President Fidel castro and Muhammad Ali
From GalileoPix

King and Arum were both willing to pay that much—and more. Stevenson serenely ignored them, content apparently to accept the more modest rewards of his government: two-story houses in both Havana and his hometown of Delicias and two Soviet-made automobiles. He was also, of course, a national hero, a Cuban who could lick the world, even if it was only an amateur world. All this seemed enough for a man born into poverty—his father, an immigrant to Cuba from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, worked in a sugar mill in Delicias—and with few expectations in life beyond what his iron fists could bring him.
Stevenson had no regrets, though. He became a boxing advisor for Cuba's National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation. "So there are world champions who earn a lot of money," he told the Washington Post a year after his retirement, "but they don't know how to sign their names. They are not useful to their society. They are in the same condition they began—without a penny. And they are even worse because they have burnt all their youth." Maybe he was right all along.
(Ron Fimrite at SI Olympic Dailies)

Teofilo Stevenson, 1985
Source Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)
Author Settnik, Bernd
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1952 - Born in Puerto Padre, Cuba on the 29th of March.
1960 - Stevenson continued to improve under Herrera in the mid, winning a junior title and gaining additional training in Havana.
1970 - Stevenson went on to register convincing victories over Nancio Carillo and Juan Perez, two of Cuba's finest boxers in the weight division, securing a place in the national team for the Central American Championships.
1971 - Stevenson met fancied American boxer Duane Bobick. Bobick, a gold medalist at the Pan American Games.
1972 - Stevenson, now twenty, joined the Cuban boxing team for the Munich Olympics with high hopes resting on his performance.
- He was awarded the Val Barker Trophy for Outstanding Boxer at the Olympic Games.
- Teófilo Stevenson became the Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR, one of a few foreign athletes to be awarded the title in its history.
1974 - Stevenson did the same at the inaugural World Championships in Havana, Cuba
1980 - Stevenson went to the Summer Olympics in Moscow and became the second boxer ever, after Papp, to win three Olympic boxing gold medals.
1984 - He beat the Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs in February.
1999 - Stevenson was arrested at Miami International Airport when, before boarding a United Airlines chartered jet that would take the Cuban national boxing team home.

Was he the greatest ever Olympic boxer? Consider his records - he was the first boxer to win three consecutive gold medals in the same weight class (heavyweight) and might easily have added a fourth if Cuba had not boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles in retaliation for America's boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow. That was the year the super-heavyweight division was added and Stevenson might have wound up facing American gold medal winner Tyrell Biggs in that new division. Stevenson had met Biggs earlier that year in amateur competition--and defeated him. But we'll never know how that might have gone.
Stevenson was a tall, rangy heavyweight with a destructive left jab and one-punch knockout power with his sneaky right hand. At Munich in 1972, he faced America's hottest pro prospect Duane Bobick in a preliminary match. Bobick had decisioned Stevenson at the Pan-American Games the prior year and was favored to repeat at the Olympics. He was outboxing Stevenson until the Cuban unleashed a spectacular barrage in the third and final round, knocking Bobick down three times and ending the fight. (Stevenson won the Gold Medal when his Romanian opponent failed to show up for their bout.)
At Montreal in 1976, Stevenson gave his most memorable display of power, knocking out four of his opponents, including America's Big John Tate in one round. Tate went on to win the World Boxing Assn. heavyweight championship in 1979, but lost it the following year by knockout to Mike Weaver. Teofilo Stevenson may have been the very best Olympic boxer--and might have proved it if his nation hadn't boycotted the 1984 games, denying him the chance to be the all-time gold medal winner in Olympic boxing history.
(Ron Miller, Aug. 4, 2008 at

Images from


No comments: