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’