ERROL SPENCE JR.
The 26-year-old welterweight boxer and former Olympian discusses corruption in amateur boxing after several referees and judges were removed from the Rio Games over disputed results.
RYAN ASSELTA:Irish bantamweight Michael Conlan said he was robbed of victory and that the International Boxing Association cheats after his controversial loss to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin in the quarterfinals in Rio. You had some controversy with your fight at the London Games in 2012—you initially lost, but that decision was overturned on appeal. When you hear Conlan's sentiments, do you agree with what he said?
ERROL SPENCE JR.: It's the truth. People get robbed all of the time. They [AIBA] have their favorites. Unfortunately it's a lot of politics in Olympic and amateur boxing. Hopefully they can change it, but it's been going on for a long time. We saw it in [Seoul] 1988 when Roy Jones Jr. got robbed for the gold. We saw Evander Holyfield get robbed in the Olympics [in 1984]. Somebody needs to step up and stop it because it's a shame when fighters have been training their whole lives to fight for their country and then they get to the Olympics and get robbed. It's breaking these kids' hearts and turning them away from Olympic boxing. Why fight in the Olympics when you can just turn pro and make money, and not have to worry about this type of corruption?
RA:You mentioned that politics is an issue. Money has been reported to be involved. Can it be fixed or is it a no-win situation?
ES: It can definitely be fixed. AIBA has too much power. Participating countries need to take a stand and say, If AIBA keeps this up, then we're not going to fight in your tournaments.
For more of Spence's interview, plus the SI Now archives, go to SI.com/sinow
"Why fight in the Olympics when you can just turn pro and make money?"
—Errol Spence Jr.
WATCH SI NOW
LIVE WEEKDAYS AT 1 P.M. EDT
POWERED BY TOYOTA
• EPISODE: AUG. 15
SI baseball writer Jay Jaffe looks at Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts's chances of being named AL MVP
• EPISODE: AUG. 16
U.S. swimmer Nathan Adrian shares what it's like to be Michael Phelps's teammate
• EPISODE: AUG. 17
1984 Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton discusses how gymnastics has changed over the years
• EPISODE: AUG. 18
UFC light heavyweight Anthony Johnson says MMA fighters need a union, like pros in other sports