Critics of professional boxers potentially being allowed in the Olympics (more likely in full for 2020 than 2016 at this point) have mostly cited a disadvantage for inexperienced, less talented amateur fighters at the Games.
Mike Tyson also reportedly called the idea to integrate pro boxers into the Games “foolish” and “ridiculous” on Wednesday, but for a very different reason.
“Some of the pro fighters are gonna get beat by the amateurs,” Tyson said while in China, according to Sky Sports. “If they are like the amateur fighters that I was fighting in the ’80s, like [three-time Cuban Olympic heavyweight champion Teófilo] Stevenson [who Tyson never fought] and those guys, and all those guys were fighting with the Russians and the Cubans, they are gonna beat some of the champions.”
Tyson never boxed in the Olympics but attempted to make the 1984 Olympic team at age 17.
He lost to eventual gold medalist Henry Tillman at the Olympic Trials after reportedly meeting Evander Holyfield for the first time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Both Russia and Cuba boycotted the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.