Rating the amateur career

Discussion in 'Boxing News and Discussion' started by dmille, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. dmille

    dmille Guest

    In another thread, Val called Whitaker the most successful US am ever.

    It got me to thinking, how should the am career be rated? I will concentrate on the US first.

    1. National titles. PAL, USA boxing, golden gloves.

    There is also the armed forces and collegiate national titles, but they are of course restircted to those in the military or school.

    I don't know the national history of the Canadian titles or Russian titles or Cuban titles. So how do I judge foreigners?

    2. International titles. The Olympics are obvious. The World championships started in 1974 and coincided with the rise of the Cubans.

    A Cuban can't fight for the European championship. A Ruskie can't fight for the Central American & Caribbean title.

    A Brit can't fight for a Pan-Am title. An American can't fight for a Commonweath gold medal.

    Back to Sweet Pea,

    Pernell Whitaker
    1982 us lightweight champion
    1983 pan-american lightweight champion
    1983 world championship challenge lightweight champion
    1984 world championship challenge lightweight champion
    1984 olympic lightweight champion

    A distinguished career to be sure, but he won only one major national title. Compare this to Ray Leonard, Mark Breland or Oscar DeLaHoya.

    Ray Leonard
    1973 national golden gloves lightweight champion
    1974 us light welterweight champion
    1974 national golden gloves light welterweight champion
    1975 us light welterweight champion
    1975 pan-american light welterweight champion
    1976 olympic light welterweight champion

    Mark Breland
    1979 us jr olympic welterweight champion
    1982 us welterweight champion
    1982 world welterweight champion
    1983 us welterweight champion
    1983 world championship challenge welterweight champion
    1984 world championship challenge welterweight champion
    1984 olympic welterweight champion

    Oscar DeLaHoya
    1988 us jr olympic bantamweight champion
    1989 national golden gloves featherweight champion
    1990 us featherweight champion
    1990 goodwill featherweight champion
    1991 us lightweight champion
    1992 world championship challenge lightweight champion
    1992 olympic lightweight champion

    All olympic champions. Leonard won the Pan-Am games. Breland won the World title. Oscar won at the Goodwill games. Several national titles amongst them. Their ledgers are every bit as impressive as Whitakers.

    So I go back to my question: How to rate the amateur career?

    [ December 22, 2003, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: dmille ]
  2. dmille

    dmille Guest

    Another thought that occurred to me was the criticism that many commie era fighters get for being government subsidized and for being "men fighting boys".

    Why is it that the fighters in the US military services are never subject to this same critique?

    The fighter that springs immediately to mind is Ray Mercer. He was 27 years old and a soldier in the US Army when he won the olympic gold in 1988.

    Keith Mason is the US Army and Armed Forces champion at light welter for 2003. He is rated number one in the US by USA boxing. His career is completely government subsidized.

    [ December 22, 2003, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: dmille ]
  3. Michael Matos

    Michael Matos Member

    Excellent point. Isn't the American Olympic Comittee partially government subsidised to begin with.
  4. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    A phenomenon that started taking place after WWII. Other government "subsidized" fighters:

    Two military, more notably
    Hayes Sanders (178+ lbs., Gold/Navy)

    Out of the 10 Olympians, 5 were Military. More notably
    Jose Torres (156 lbs., Silver/Army)
    James Boyd (178, Gold/Army)

    Out of the 10 Olympians, 6 were Military. More notably
    Eddie Crook, Army (165 lbs Gold Medalist/Army)
    Quincy Daniels (139 Bronze Medalist/ Air Force)

    Out of the 10 Olympians, 7 were Military. More notably
    Bob Carmody (112 lbs, Bronze medalist/Army)
    Charles Brown, Marines (125 lbs, Bronze/Marines)

    Out of the 10 Olympians, 6 were Military. More notably
    Harlan Marbley (112 lbs, Bronze/ Army)
    Al Robinson (125 lbs, Silver/Navy)
    J. Wallington (139, Bronze/Army)
    John Baldwin (156, Bronze/Air Force)

    Out of the 11 Olympians, 5 were Military. More notably
    Ricardo Carreras (119, Bronze/Air Force)
    Jesse Valdez, Houston (147 lbs, Bronze/Air Force)

    Charles Mooney (119 lbs, Silver/Army)

    Three military, more notably
    Andrew Maynard (178 lbs, Gold/Army)
    Ray Mercer (201 lbs, Gold/Army)
  5. dmille

    dmille Guest

    You forgot former US Marine Leon Spinks.
  6. BJ*

    BJ* Member

    i'm still not sure what this topic means -

    but winning several national titles is simply redundancy...but i don't see why it somehow means it was a more successful career. winning the golden gloves title and then winning the US title, simply means you basically were able to beat the exact same opponents twice...

    I would think an am career can be measured like any other - level of success at the highest level of competition.
  7. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    Winning the World Amateur Title (not the ?Challenge?) is a HUGE accomplishment. Latino countries as well as Eastern Europeans consider the World Amateur championships a bigger title in boxing than the Olympics. That is, because it only concentrates on a particular sport, while the Olympics concentrate in a constellation of sports.

    Wilfredo Gomez winning the World Championship Amateur Title in the earlier 1970s was bigger than Whitaker or Breland winning the Olympic Title in 1984. Especially, when Gomez was intentionally put in a bracket to face the TOP amateur opponents (the games took place in Cuba) and finally ended up facing the Cuban. Beating all of them by KO. Better yet, because he had to defeat another very good amateur fighter named Wilfred Benitez, just to make the team.

    So, it takes some understanding of what was going on at the time.

    In the late 70s and earlier to mid 80s, I was a big fan of amateur boxing. I lived in Puerto Rico, where Amateur Boxing is a HUGE thing. And I was aware of the Cubans, some Dominicans, and other Caribbean warriors.

    I agree with the last poster assessment about the Golden Gloves and National Championships. But it still a good accomplishment.
  8. Boxing Freak

    Boxing Freak Guest

    Gomez was THE shit!

    Top 3 ameture of alltime.
  9. dmille

    dmille Guest

    Thanks for offering your opinion. That is what this topic means.

    Every fighter is not going to enter every tourney in any given year. And every year a new crop of juniors start fighting in open age comp.

    IF winning the PAL, the GG and the US championship in the same year is redundant; then what does that say about the guys who enter all three, but only win one of them? Or none?

    Winning at the international level is obviously more impressive, but Val said IHO Whitaker was the most successful US am ever. If we are judging fighters from one nation only, then I think national titles should be considered.

    And IF we were talking Cubans, then a national title can be the equal of an olympic or world championship because of the depth of their comp.
  10. dmille

    dmille Guest

    He won it in 74, the first world championships. Correct me if I am wrong, BUT I believe that Gomez is the ONLY PR fighter to win one.

    And the worth of an Olympic title during the 80s must be weighed against the fact of the political boycotts. The US was not at the 80 games. Russia and Cuba boycotted 84. Cuba also didn't take part in the 88 games. A world title in that decade could have more meaning because the best comp was usually present.
  11. Michael Matos

    Michael Matos Member

    Would you be willing to extend that to just about any cold war communist country with a Boxing program? Or at least East Germany and the USSR?
  12. dmille

    dmille Guest

    NO, I would not. Compare the number of Olympic and world titles of Cuba to those of Russia or E. Germany. There is NO equal to the Cuban program.
  13. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    Gomez had an amateur record of 90-3.

    If I'm not mistaking, John John Molina won in 1985 (over Kelcie Banks in the finals ?Banks was a two time World Amateur Champ).
  14. dmille

    dmille Guest

    It was the World Cup that Molina won in 85.

    Banks won the world title in 86 and pan-am in 87.
  15. Valentino

    Valentino Member


  16. dmille

    dmille Guest

    I looked up the numbers.

    Olympic champions (since 1908)
    USA 47
    Cuba 27
    USSR/Russia 17
    E. Germany 5

    If I remove the boycotted Olympics, where at least one major team didn't compete during the 80s; the totals look like this:

    USA 35
    Cuba 21
    USSR/Russia 15
    E. Germany 2

    The thing that stands out for me it that the Ruskies didn't win a single olympic gold until 1956 and that Cuba won their first in 72. That makes the following stats all the more interesting.

    World championships (since 1974)
    Cuba 58
    USSR/Russia 26
    USA 14
    E. Germany 1

    If I included the World Cup and World Championship Challenge to these numbers, the Cubans would be off the charts.

    [ December 27, 2003, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: dmille ]
  17. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    As I previously stated, the World Amateur Championships (for some unexplained reason) has more value to Cubans and other international countries than the Olympics. Especially when it comes to Baseball and Boxing.
  18. dmille

    dmille Guest

    I brought up the numbers for the world championships because their start coincided with the rise of Cuban dominance. I could have just as easily listed the numbers for the olympics since 72 (with and without the boycotts).

    Olympic championships (since 1972)
    Cuba 27
    USA 20
    USSR/Russia 7

    Without 80, 84 & 88
    Cuba 21
    USA 8
    USSR/Russia 5

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