We live in a time when writers and fans
are saying “what do you think if so and so fought so and so what do
you think would happen”? Well there was a time in October of 1975
when two future Hall of Fame boxers got in the ring wanting to show
who was better!
It was the 1975 Pan American Games in
Mexico City when team USA took eleven of their best boxers across the
border. It would be when heavyweight Teofilio Stevenson of Cuba
would win his first Pan Am Gold due to losing to Duane Bobick of the
USA in 1971. He defeated future world champion Michael Dokes of
Akron, OH, while another future world champion Trevor Berbick had to
settle for a Bronze medal.
Leon Spinks of St. Louis, MO., lost in
the finals of the light heavyweight division to Cuban Rene Pedroso.
Chuck Walker, of Mesa, AZ, would settle for a Bronze medal in the
light middleweight division. Both Spinks and Walker would represent
the 1976 Olympic team in Montreal.
Clint Jackson of Nashville, TN, would
be one of three Americans to win a Gold medal. He defeated Kenny
Bristol of Guyana in the welterweight division. Davey Armstrong of
Puyallup, WA, would win Gold over Cuba’s Genovefo Grinan in the
featherweight division. Both Jackson and Armstrong would make the
1976 Olympic team. Armstrong was also a member of the 1972 Olympic
Bernard Taylor, of Charlotte, NC, would
lose in the finals to Cuba’s Orlando Martinez, to take home a
Silver medal in the bantamweight division. In the lightweight
division Aaron Pryor, of Cincinnati, OH, would lose to Chris Clarke
of Canada in the finals taking home a Silver medal.
In the light welterweight division
“Sugar” Ray Leonard, of Palmer Park, MD, would defeat Victor
Corona, of Cuba, to win the Gold medal. Team USA would finish second
in the medal count with three Gold medals and eight total medals.
Cuba won six Gold and eleven total medals to rank first.
This writer has done stories on all of
the 1976 Olympic team members. Two of them I have talked with
personally. That would be Walker and Armstrong about the Pan Am
Games. There may have been several times they boxed for it’s been
said Pryor claims to have knocked Leonard down in a sparring session.
“In 1975 Pan American Games practice
Ray Leonard sparred with Aaron Pryor. Leonard hit Pryor with left
hooks, jabs and upper cuts,” said Armstrong.
“I did see Ray and Aaron spar on more
than one occasion and it was like watching a chess match. Though
Aaron was definitely the better slugger, Ray was like poetry in
motion as always. But few people realize that Aaron could actually
“box” really well when he chose to. I honestly don’t remember
either man having a clear advantage over the other. All I know is
that it was beautiful to watch. I feel honored to have been on top
with these guys at such a wonderful time of truly legendary fighters.
I sparred with both Ray and Aaron on quite a few occasions and it is
great to be able to have those memories,” said Walker.
NEW: Follow Doghouse Boxing on FaceBook!
For more Boxing News 24/7 and so much more...
visit our homepage now!