A class left behind
A gold medal at an Olympic Games usually puts a fighter on the fast track to fame and fortune. The class of 1980, which was forced to boycott the Games in Moscow, never got that opportunity -- and they're reminded of that every four years.
- AP Photo/Mary AltafferFighters like Sadam Ali hope to use the Beijing Olympics as a launchpad to success -- something the class of '80 couldn't do.It comes every four years. It is the grandest athletic spectacle on the globe. The Olympics is the stage on which the greatest athletes get to perform. The event gives rise to legends and heroes worldwide. But for those whose Olympic dreams were snatched away, the Games merely serve as a reminder of what could have been. "How can I forget about it, they still have the Olympics every four years, don't they?" said Richie Sandoval, a flyweight on the 1980 U.S. Olympic boxing team. "That's something that stays, always -- always -- in my memory."
The 1980 Olympic boxing team and how they faired as professionals
How did they do? 106 pounds -- Robert Shannon, turned pro after the 1984 Olympics. Had an 18-6 pro record and fought champs Jose Sanabria, Paul Banke and Greg Richardson. 112 pounds -- Richie Sandoval, had a 29-1 record with 17 KOs. Won WBA bantamweight title. Retired after suffering brain injury against Gaby Canizales. 119 pounds -- Jackie Beard, fought for the Kronk Gym and had 36-14-1 record. Twice challenged for the world title and lost. 125 pounds -- Bernard Taylor, had a 45-4-2 record and failed in two attempts to win the world title. Lost to Hall-of-Famers Eusebio pedroza and Barry McGuigan. 132 pounds -- Joe Manley, had a 29-8-2 record and won the IBF junior welterweight crown. Lost it in his first title defense. 139 pounds -- Johnny Bumphus, had a 29-2 record and captured the WBA junior welterweight title. Lost title in first defense. 147 pounds -- Donald Curry, 34-6 record and a two-division champion. Best remembered for knocking out Milton McCrory on HBO in welterweight unification bout. 156 pounds -- James Shuler, 22-1 record. Died tragically in motorcycle accident a week after knockout loss to Thomas Hearns. 165 pounds -- Charles Carter, had an 18-9 pro record. Fought future champs Chong Pal Park and Michael Nunn. 178 pounds -- Leroy Murphy, had 30-4 record and won IBF cruiserweight title and made three successful title defenses. Heavyweight -- James Broad, had a 23-10 record. Fought the likes of Tim Witherspoon, Greg Page, Tony Tucker and Razor Ruddock.
When you have a gold medal when you turn pro, you are talking real numbers. Those numbers weren't there when I turned pro. It's not even worth talking about. I would have made better money shining someone's shoes. I used the same trunks I wore in the amateurs and my mom made my robe. She was my tailor.
-- former flyweight Richie Sandoval, on the price he paid during the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games
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