Tyson calls pro­posal to al­low pros in Olympics ‘ridicu­lous’

The African - - POT POURRI -

A PRO­POSAL to let pro­fes­sional fight­ers com­pete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics is ‘ridicu­lous’ and ‘fool­ish’, for­mer heavy­weight cham­pion Mike Tyson said last Wed­nes­day.

In Bei­jing to pro­mote pro­fes­sional box­ing in China, Tyson said any pro box­ers go­ing to the Olympics should be pre­pared to lose be­cause the am­a­teurs could prove too fast for them.

“It’s ridicu­lous, it’s fool­ish and some of the pro fight­ers are go­ing to get beaten by the am­a­teurs,” Tyson said. “It’s just go­ing to hap­pen. Some of them are go­ing to get beaten I think. I re­ally be­lieve that.”

The head of the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, C.K. Wu, has pro­posed al­low­ing pros in the Olympics, al­though it’s un­cer­tain how the plan would be im­ple­mented for Rio be­cause qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ments are ei­ther un­der­way or have al­ready been held for box­ers in most coun­tries.

Am­a­teur bouts in­volve a max­i­mum of four rounds, while pro­fes­sional fights can last as many as 12.

Tyson said he still has strong mem­o­ries of the speed and skill of box­ers from Cuba, Rus­sia and else­where he fought as an am­a­teur in the 1980s.

“For three rounds, four rounds, some of the pro­fes­sional box­ers aren’t go­ing to be able to catch these guys,” he said. “These guys are go­ing to be fast for three rounds, four rounds. These guys are not go­ing to be ac­cus­tomed to that.”

While eight-time world cham­pion Manny Pac­quiao has he would con­sider rep­re­sent­ing his na­tive Philip­pines in the Olympics, his pro­moter Bob Arum has said that is a ter­ri­ble idea.

Arum said last month he can’t imag­ine Pac­quiao fight­ing teen-age am­a­teurs in what would surely be mis­matches in the Olympics, warn­ing “there will be se­ri­ous health con­se­quences” to putting ex­pe­ri­enced pros in with rank am­a­teurs.

Even if pros are not al­lowed in Rio, the box­ing com­pe­ti­tion will re­sem­ble the pro game more, with a 10-point must sys­tem scor­ing and no head­gear for the first time.

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