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AIBA approves pros to fight in the Olympics

Photos: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/GBP

Could you imagine Canelo flattening an amateur? Photo: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/GBP

The AIBA, which governs boxing in the Olympics, voted in favor of allowing professional boxers to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, assuming they qualify.

“At the moment it is difficult to anticipate, but there will be some who want to get qualification,” AIBA president CK Wu said afterwards.

According to the Associated Press, 84 of the 88 federations approved the rule change, despite the Olympics being just 10 weeks out.  Next month in Venezuela, there will be 26 entries that can be earned through a qualifying tournament.

To put it bluntly, this has to be one of the stupidest and most dangerous moves I’ve ever seen.

The idea that a pro like say, Gennady Golovkin, could face an amateur in the Olympics is absurd, and could create mismatches that would make a PPV undercard jealous.

Though I wouldn’t expect many pros to make the journey to Venezuela to try and qualify with such short notice, the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo, Japan, could have plenty of pros.

Making matters worse is the potential devaluing of winning a gold medal.  For amateurs, a gold medal not only represents the ultimate achievement in amateur boxing, but opens the doors for many opportunities as a pro, with “Olympic Gold Medalist” being a powerful marketing tool to boot.

Should an accomplished pro win a gold medal in boxing, what good will that do? What would beating up on amateurs prove? In short, nothing.

The barrier of course, for a pro, will be the realization that competing in the Olympics would not only force them to fight a handful of times in a short period of time, but also a lack of a purse. Amateurs don’t get paid.

It’s still too early to tell how many pros will be attracted by the potential of competing in the Olympics, but the AIBA is proving that it values entertainment over safety and legitimacy.

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