Boxing became an Olympic sport in 1904 and, since then, the event has served as a springboard for great prizefighting careers and has often provided high drama to the Summer Games.
Here's a look at the five greatest Olympic boxers of all time:
Roy Jones Jr.
At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Roy Jones Jr. had to settle for a silver medal despite turning in one of the most brilliant multi-fight performances in Olympic history. Without losing a single round throughout the preliminaries, the light middleweight seemingly dominated South Korean, Park Si-Hun in the gold medal bout, only to wind up losing a 3-2 decision. The ensuing controversy resulted in the suspension of the three judges who voted against Jones, but the decision was never overturned. The Jones scandal would also bring about a change to the Olympic and amateur scoring system.
The first fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in two different weight classes, the Hungarian boxer would take top honors as a middleweight in 1948 and then win the gold as a light middleweight in 1952 and 1956. A member of the elite three-gold medal class, along with Cubans Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon, Papp was the first Olympic boxer to win a gold medal in three successive Games.
Sugar Ray Leonard
The fighter who would go on to become a 5-division world champ in the pros, cruised through the 1976 Games as a light welterweight, winning each and every round en route to a gold medal. Leonard would become the face of, arguably, the best U.S. Olympic boxing team of all time.
The Cuban heavyweight ruled the Olympic scene with three successive gold medals (1992, 1996, 2000) and became known as the successor to the great Teofilo Stevenson. Not only was Savon a three-time gold medalist, but in fourteen Olympic bouts, he only came close to losing once -- a 13-11 win over American, Danell Nicholson, in 1992.
Regarded by many as the greatest boxer to never turn pro, Stevenson took Olympic heavyweight gold in 1972, 1976, and 1980. In thirteen total Olympic bouts, only two went the distance with nine wins coming via KO/TKO. The 6' 3" Stevenson, who made a splash on the world stage and became a national hero in his native Cuba, reportedly turned down five million dollars to face Muhammad Ali. Instead, he opted to stay an amateur in Communist Cuba and would eventually become a coach for the Cuban national team.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
The Guardian UK, 50 Stunning Olympic Moments
Boxrec, Laszlo Papp Biography and Stats
Boxrec, Ray Leonard Biography and Stats
Tim Padgett/Dolly Mascarena, Felix Savon, Time
Reuters, Olympic Legends: Teofilo Stevenson, Rediff