Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 8/30/14

The winding and political history of boxing in Cuba is well acknowledged, as is the island's tendency to spill greatness into its boxing rings. Being even simply among the best that Cuba has produced is an honor unto itself, but to have a name surrounded by an aura of greatness that transcends the amateur ranks when the fighter himself doesn't is a rare feat.

According to the Associated Press, Teofilo Stevenson Lawrence passed away this week, a heart attack accomplishing what future heavyweight title holders John Tate, Tony Tubbs and Michael Dokes, among others, couldn't do in the amateurs.

Last month, Stevenson told CNN, "Cubans like to box because of out temperament. Because of our idiosyncrasies and because we have needed to know how to defend ourselves."


Stevenson was one of only three men to win Olympic gold in boxing three times, alongside Laszlo Papp and fellow Cuban Felix Savon, but likely received a boost in notoriety from comparisons to a young Cassius Clay in quality and potential.

Georg N. Meyers of The Seattle Daily Times reported from Munich in 1972, "In all respects, Stevenson is a startling reminder of Muhammad Ali when he was the Olympian Cassius Clay -- except that Teofilo is a more formidable puncher."

But stateside, Duane Bobick, who had defeated Stevenson at the '71 Pan American Games, was still "probably the most publicized fighter to come out of the amateurs since Muhammad Ali," according to Don Moran, president of the Cornhuskers Boxing Club, ahead of promoting one of Bobick's fights.

However, Teofilo Stevenson would snap Duane Bobick's amateur win streak off at 61 in a row in winning Olympic gold in '72.

When dust was still scattering in the wake of Ali's 1974 reclamation of the heavyweight title over George Foreman in Zaire, already reports from Kinshasa were mentioning Stevenson as a future menace to the throne. "And now it is Frazier who appears to have the next crack in this game of musical chairs among three black American fighters -- Ali, Frazier and Foreman. Their only potential threats on the horizon are Teofilo Stevenson, a Cuban giant whom Fidel Castro may not permit to leave home, and Duane Bobick, an American Olympian such as Ali and Foreman who is now unbeaten as a pro," reported the AP via The Trenton Evening Times.

And this was before standing highest on the Olympic podium twice more.

Following his opening round win en route to his final gold medal in 1980, AP writer Ed Schuyler said, "Stevenson's right when it is on target has a rag-doll effect. The victim's bone structure seems to dissolve." He continued, "Ataga reeled drunkenly across the ring and sank to a knee. Stevenson helped him up and then helped him back to his corner."

Just moments earlier, Teofilo had drawn the ire of the Moscow crowd by blowing kisses and waving to them before backpedaling boringly for most of the 1st round. One right hand put him into the quarterfinals, and a small gesture earned him a different type of appreciation.

His Olympic record was 11-0 (9 KO).

Stevenson respected the Cuban government's decision to not participate in the 1984 Olympics, as well as the professional boxing ban, even going a step further in eventually becoming vice president of the Cuban Boxing Federation. In 1988, Boxing Illustrated voted him the greatest ever Olympic boxer.

In January of this year, Stevenson spent a few weeks in the hospital due to an arterial clot near his heart, but seemed to be recovering.

Gone at only 60-years old, boxing loses a veritable icon in Teofilo Stevenson, 1952-2012.


Magic Johnson wants Lakers to lose for high draft pick

White Sox load up, look interesting, remain nimble

Jerry Jones: I'm for two more playoff teams right now

Cubs acquire Miguel Montero from Diamondbacks

Cam Newton suffers two lower back fractures in car accident

Report: Pirates re-sign Francisco Liriano to three-year deal


Mark Jackson calls out Warriors owner during Sunday sermon

Johnny Manziel reportedly to start for Browns in Week 15

Brandon Marshall on Cutler: I would have buyer’s remorse, too

Report: Cardinals, Yankees may get involved on Max Scherzer

Kobe: If Lakers were the Titanic, I’d go down with that

Report: Lester's four contract offers in 6-year, $150M range

NFC playoff picture, Week 15: 49ers drop from contention

Sean Payton calls more than 10 players in for ‘review’

Woodson wants Jim Harbaugh to coach Michigan over Raiders

MLS Cup sees over 50%increase in viewership from 2013

Glazer: ESPN are ‘lying bastards’ over stealing Manziel report

JJ Watt featured on South Park holiday episode

Urban Meyer's wife cried tears of joy when OSU made Playoff

Kevin Klein loses part of his ear, scores game-winning goal

Jay-Z left in disbelief by LeBron's ridiculous fadeaway

NFL playoff hopefuls: Sling it at your own risk

Goodell named finalist for TIME's Person of the Year

Big Ten fans mass-ordering NJIT shirts to troll Michigan

Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

White Sox load up, look interesting, remain nimble

NFC playoff picture, Week 15: 49ers drop from contention

Glazer rips ESPN over Manziel report

Cam Newton involved in accident

Report: Manziel to start for Browns

Aaron Rodgers the favorite for MVP?

LeBron breached protocol putting his arm around Kate

Fletcher Cox introduces himself to the NFL

Lynch: Media will keep him out of Canton

Gina Carano, Henry Cavill break up again

Rondo: I'm a top-three NBA player

11 amazing NFL stats from Week 14

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.