Famed promoter Don King criticized the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) for its proposed league that will allow pro boxers to compete in the Olympics.
“This policy is not only implausible; it is immoral, harmful and highly dangerous!” King, 81, said as part of a 900-word statement on his website.
Professional boxers are not currently allowed in the Olympics, but the AIBA plan is to have boxers join its league rather than sign with promoters, such as King.
Current pro fighters would have to join the AIBA league at least two years prior to the Olympics and remain in it for at least two years after the Games to be eligible, according to Agence France-Press.
“I am extremely concerned by the commandeering of those participating in the Olympics by the AIBA,” King wrote. “Their policy demanding that participants sign exclusive PROFESSIONAL contracts with AIBA in order to participate in the Olympics is tantamount to monopoly, coercion and restraint of trade.”
King also argued that pitting AIBA professionals against the regular mix of amateur Olympic boxers could be problematic.
“While it is accepted in team sports such as basketball and football, professionals and amateurs competing together and against other teams, at best, it can result in an upset, amateurs beating the professionals; or at worst, it can result in an embarrassing score by the professionals over the amateurs,” King wrote. “But in boxing, it is man to man. There is no upside; and the downside has GRAVE implications: a professional boxer fighting an amateur boxer removes all safety, and absolutely contradicts your edict of banning violence by promoting violence, which could result in a career ending injury, paralysis, or death.”
Lochte: ‘I almost didn’t come back this year’
The U.S. under-23 men’s soccer team kept its Olympic qualifying hopes alive by beating Canada 2-0 in the CONCACAF tournament’s third-place game in Sandy, Utah, on Tuesday night.
Midfielder Marc Pelosi and forward Jerome Kiesewetter scored in the 69th and 84th minutes, respectively, with Canada playing with 10 men for the entire second half.
The U.S. will qualify for the Rio Olympics if — and only if — it beats Colombia in a one-game playoff in Rio de Janeiro in March.
The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2004 and 2012 Olympic tournaments and hasn’t won a men’s soccer medal since 1904, when the Olympic tournament included three teams.
The Americans missed an earlier chance to clinch a Rio Olympic spot when they lost 2-0 to Honduras in the CONCACAF tournament semifinals Saturday.
If the U.S. qualifies for Rio, it can swap in a maximum of three players born before Jan. 1, 1993, to its roster for the Olympics.
The U.S. took advantage of the over-age exception to add World Cup veterans in 2008 (Brian McBride) and 2000 (Brad Friedel).
The U.S. can already add three World Cup veterans without using any over-age spots, since John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin will still be eligible for the U-23 team in 2016. Even though none were used in CONCACAF qualifying.
The 2016 Olympic men’s soccer tournament field:
Brazil — possibly with Neymar
Argentina — 2008 Olympic champion when it had Lionel Messi
Germany — possibly with Philipp Lahm, but unlikely for Mesut Özil
Portugal — possibly with 2004 Olympian Cristiano Ronaldo
Sweden — possibly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic
U.S. or Colombia
Three Asian nations determined in January
Three African nations determined in December
MORE SOCCER: Jurgen Klinsmann’s journey to an Olympic bronze medal
“Race,” a film about Olympic sprint legend Jesse Owens, will hit theaters Feb. 19.
Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin 1936 Olympics in the face of Nazi Germany, is played by Stephan James in the film.
Jason Sudeikis and Jeremy Irons are also in the cast for the Focus Features film, according to reports. Sudeikis will reportedly play Owens’ coach, Larry Snyder. Irons will play Avery Brundage, then the president of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Angelina Jolie discusses her decision to use Jesse Owens in ‘Unbroken’