STEVE FARHOOD RANKS THE PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF U.S. OLYMPIANS
Press Release: 2008 United States Olympian Gary Russell Jr., well on his way to featherweight title contention, plus five 2012 U.S. Olympians will be featured on “Night of the Olympians” this Friday, Nov. 9th, on Showtime's ShoBox: The New Generation from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. Russell Jr. (20-0, 12 KO’s), of Capitol Heights, Md., will face Roberto Castaneda (20-2-1, 15 KO’s) in the Saturday’s ShoBox 10-round main event. So what kind of pro careers will the Olympians fighting this Saturday go on to have? Russell is off to a 20-0 start. For the others, you’ll have to stay tuned. Below is ShoBox boxing historian Steve Farhood’s Top 10 list of the U.S. Olympians since 1976 who accomplished the most as professionals:
1. Sugar Ray Leonard: Beat Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler, and won titles from welterweight to light heavyweight. The best fighter I’ve ever covered.
2. Floyd Mayweather: Has rarely been challenged, much less beaten. The last man to defeat him: Serafim Todorov at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
3. Pernell Whitaker: Defensive wizard Whitaker is among greatest lightweights of all time. His crowning achievement was domination of Julio Cesar Chavez (though judges called the fight a draw).
4. Roy Jones Jr.: Virtually untouchable in his prime. He was such a special talent that he rose to heavyweight and won a share of that world title.
5. Oscar De La Hoya: Carried boxing on his golden shoulders. Fought everyone from Chavez to Mayweather to Bernard Hopkins, and won titles at six weights.
6. Evander Holyfield: Amazing overachiever was the best cruiserweight in history and went on to beat Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson at heavyweight.
7. Michael Spinks: Forget the loss to Tyson at heavyweight; he was a brilliant boxer and huge right-hand puncher in a lengthy reign at 175 pounds.
8. Andre Ward: Already in the top two or three of today’s pound-for-pound rankings. He has the potential to rise even higher.
9. Michael Carbajal: It’s not easy for a 108-pounder to be named Fighter of the Year, but Carbajal did so. He raised the profile of the lighter weights as much as any other fighter.
10. Virgil Hill: A master boxer who enjoyed a pair of reigns as light heavyweight champion. He was beaten only once, by Hearns, during an awesome 10-year title run.
The five 2012 U.S. Olympians - heavyweight Dominic Breazeale, of Anaheim, Calif., cruiserweight Marcus Browne, of Staten Island, N.Y., super middleweight Terrell Gausha, of Cleveland, Ohio, junior middleweight Errol Spence, of Desoto, Texas, and bantamweight Rau’Shee Warren, of Cincinnati, Ohio - will box in four-round pro debut fights.
Breazeale takes on Curtis Tate (4-3, 4 KOs), of Oakland, Tenn., Browne will meet Codale Ford (2-0), of Fort Gibson, Okla., Gausha will face Dustin Caplinger (2-3, 1 KO) of Chillicothe, Ohio, Spence will be opposed by Jonathan Garcia (3-3, 1 KO), of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and Warren collides with Luis Rivera of Ponce, Puerto Rico (1-2).
Tickets are available at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.