Publish date:

SI NOW

Author:

SUGAR RAY LEONARD

The 1976 Olympic gold medalist, who also won world titles in five weight divisions as a professional, gives his take on a proposal that would allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics.

MAGGIE GRAY:Are you in favor of pro boxers fighting in the Olympics?

SUGAR RAY LEONARD: I'm totally against it. Professionals are what they are and what they have been for many, many years. I don't understand what they are trying to do here. Professional means professional. Amateur means amateur. They should not be fighting against one another.

MG:Which do you think is going to be impacted the most by this, Olympic boxing or the amateur fighters?

SRL: I would say it's the amateur fighter who is going to be affected most. And then the audience, the fans. How do they distinguish between an amateur and a professional? Is the amateur ready to fight a professional? The biggest tournament in the world for amateurs is the Olympics, and they should not mess with that.

MG:If this were the rule when you were a professional, would you have gone back to compete in the Olympics, for another gold medal?

SRL: I wouldn't have even considered going back to the Olympics. I won my gold medal when I was 20 years old, as an amateur. As a professional I would not have attempted to fight an amateur and ruin that type of experience for him.

MG:What about those who say professional fighters will bring a lot more attention to Olympic boxing?

SRL: That's not a real argument. It's not necessarily true, and I don't really think that is going to be the case.

For more of Leonard's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/sinow

"The biggest tournament in the world for amateurs is the Olympics. They should not mess with that."

—Sugar Ray Leonard

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