Boxer, multiple gold medalist, Cuban hero, greatest ever Olympic heavyweight
|Full Name||Teófilo Stevenson Laurence|
|Used Name||Teófilo Stevenson|
|Born||29 March 1952; Puerto Padre (CUB)|
|Died||11 June 2012; La Habana (Havana) (CUB)|
|Measurements||190 cm / 95 kg|
It is safe to describe Téofilo Stevenson as the greatest heavyweight boxer never to be the world’s professional champion. In fact, Stevenson never even fought for the title because he never turned professional. Stevenson’s first international appearance was in 1971 at the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, where he lost a decision in the semi-finals to the United States’ Duane Bobick and took bronze.
In 1972 at München, Stevenson won a re-match with Bobick en route to winning his first Olympic gold medal, for which he was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the top boxer at the Olympics. Stevenson also won the Olympic heavyweight gold medal in 1976 and 1980, making him one of only three men to win three Olympic boxing gold medals (Hungary’s László Papp and Félix Savón are the others). In addition, Stevenson won golds at the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games, and was world amateur champion in 1974, 1978, and 1986.
It is likely that Stevenson would have won a fourth Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles, had the Cubans not boycotted the 1984 Olympics. American professional boxing promoters coveted Stevenson’s talent, his good looks, and body-builder like body. He was offered $5 million by professional promoters to fight Muhammad Ali, but never fought professionally. But he refused all entreaties to turn professional and remained an amateur to continue boxing for the honor of his country.