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Fearsome Forehand 06-19-2012 09:44 AM

Teˇfilo Stevenson
He died last week at age 60. Won gold medals as a heavyweight in 1972, 1976, and 1980. Remained allegiant to Cuba and never defected or turned pro. Probably the best boxer to remain an amateur.

It seems likely that had he turned pro, he would have become heavyweight champion of the world. Would have been interesting to see how he matched up against the top pros of the era (Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Shavers, Holmes, Lyle, etc.)

Rui 06-19-2012 10:51 AM

There's a name from the past. I remember him well. He was very good.

LeeD 06-19-2012 03:48 PM

Fearsome knockout power, but moves like a stiff, straight in, and supposedly susceptible to uppercuts ala Frazier.
There IS something for economy of movement, but trading firepower with the Norton's, Fraziers, Forman's, I don't know.
That overhand right of Norton's would be particularly effective, against a straight forward hands to chin compact style.

jaggy 06-19-2012 06:21 PM

I always assumed he would be the next great pro back then, still for a boxer it seems 60 might be old age these days

Gonzalito17 06-20-2012 05:40 AM

Stevenson was a great fighter, tall, angular smart, rangy, snapping straight accurate punches, KO power. In 1976 after he KOed John Tate at the Olympics George Foreman said to Howard Cosell on national TV there was no doubt he could be world champion as a pro. You're not gonna get a better endorsement than that. I believe Stevenson was one of the all time great heavyweights. In 1976 he could have beat Ali, Frazier, Norton, Foreman and anyone, he was that good.

LeeD 06-20-2012 09:38 AM

Gotta understand, Foreman was always all about promotion. The bigger the audience, the bigger the pay.
Bringing Stevenson into the pro ranks would boost the audience. Foreman would kill him because Foreman works inside out, has the wide punches, and some defense up the middle. Variety often trumps ONE style. Tate's one style was compact knockout power.

Ross K 06-20-2012 11:17 AM

Sad news. An iconic figure. A great fighter with an incredible haul of three golds.

JustBob 06-20-2012 11:30 PM

I remember him well. Great, highly skilled fighter with punching power. Foreman? Come on... Stevenson was 10 times the fighter Foreman ever was...

Gonzalito17 06-21-2012 04:55 AM

The technical skillset of Stevenson made the crude and arm punching Foreman look like a local barroom brawler. Stevenson was the superior fighter, Foreman was more of a big strong brute. I can imagine Stevenson dominating Foreman with his superior boxing skills and eventually knocking him out.

Foreman made the respectful comments on ABC when Cosell asked him on the spot just how good is Stevenson. Credit to Foreman for being very honest in praising Stevenson. It takes a champ to know one.

LeeD 06-21-2012 10:32 AM

While I'll agree Stevenson had a great career, he never faced anyone his size who could dish out punches as well as take them.
The style of wading straight in, looking for a straight right knockout punch is limited, at best, at the higher levels.
Look at Frazier. He had that style, had to adopt a bob and weave to avoid getting hit. Stevenson was all offense, little defense. Most heavyweights had great offenses. Once the heavyweights see Stevenson's style, they can counter a steamroller heading straight in.

Ronaldo 06-21-2012 10:46 AM

IMHO Stevenson would have turned pro during Larry Holmes' reign.

Fearsome Forehand 06-21-2012 10:59 AM

He was about 20 when he won his first gold medal in 72 (Munich). That would have been the time for him to turn pro but he would have had to defect from Cuba to do so. (Back then, Holmes was still one of Ali's sparring partners.)

I think TS would have become either the WBA or WBC champion given some of the other fighters who became champion. Certainly he was as good or better than Mike Weaver, Leon Spinks and John Tate. You also have to figure with benefit of a top drawer trainer he would have developed as a fighter. His game plan was pretty simple, left jab followed by a huge right cross on the button. His punches were very efficient. Classic.

The real debate is how he would have done against Frazier, Foreman, Ali, etc. I think he beats Frazier (who was never the same after the first Ali fight and was a smallish, easy to hit hw with a big left hook.) Foreman, a toss up and they both were upright head hunters. TS had better mechanics but when you hit as hard as Foreman, anything can happen. Ask Micheal Moore. Ali, a stick and move guy, not a knockout puncher but had superior movement and defense. Was well past his prime by 72 but still was good enough to beat/outfox/outbox Foreman (by letting GF punch himself out in the 100 degree+ heat of Zaire at 3 in the morning.) GF fought a truly stupid fight and Ali fought the only fight he could because it would have been suicide to trade blows with GF (even though MA had a great chin.) Assuming he showed up in shape (big assumption), Clay/Ali would have given TS fits because of his unorthodox style. And styles make fights.

Yet another what if scenario that really can never really be answered.

76 (Montreal) Olympics: TS v John Tate with commentary by some guy who talked funny. :)

The actual boxing starts around the 3 minute mark.

LeeD 06-21-2012 11:27 AM

Norton also had an answer to the straight ahead knockout puncher. He was basically losing the fight with DuaneBobbick when that overhand right came thru from somewhere near his right thigh. Can't see that one coming.

Ronaldo 06-21-2012 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 6649522)
Norton also had an answer to the straight ahead knockout puncher. He was basically losing the fight with DuaneBobbick when that overhand right came thru from somewhere near his right thigh. Can't see that one coming.

Norton had a battle with Foreman in SA. Still have a t-shirt from Norton's match against Ali in Yankee Stadium.

Gonzalito17 06-21-2012 05:22 PM

Norton-Foreman was in Caracas. I think ALi made all those guys look better than they really were, with all his pizzazz. Stevenson was the real deal, a high class beast of a fighter. Cubans are a special breed of boxer, they are groomed from a young age. As young kids they are blindfolded and given sticks with a pillow at the end and they fight each other. To see which kid as the heart to fight, which ones don't have it in them. They are very successful in boxing for a reason. Stevenson was their greatest fighter ever. He's an all timer.

Gonzalito17 06-21-2012 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by Ronaldo (Post 6649624)
Norton had a battle with Foreman in SA. Still have a t-shirt from Norton's match against Ali in Yankee Stadium.

Ronaldo wanna sell it? : )

or trade. I have an old 70's black sweatshirt that says "Muhammad Ali Training Camp" on it. Mint condition. Very very rare. Ali collectors want it but I won't sell it. How is the Ali-Norton shirt?

Ronaldo 06-21-2012 05:36 PM

Small, silkscreen on a white T with red trim on collar and sleeves.

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