The 2016 Olympic games in Rio have been tainted by the sport of amateur boxing’s widespread controversy stemming from controversial judging. It’s been 28 years since the Roy Jones Jr 1988 scandal in Seol, but little seems to have changed.
Of course Jones is not the only boxer in Olympic history to have tasted bitter defeat at the hands of unfair judging, but from a boxing history perspective, that night in Seol still to this day stands as one of the most unjust moments in the sport’s long history.
After dominating his South Korean opponent Park Si-Hun in the final that year, Jones astonishingly dropped a points decision, despite punch stats showing after the fight that he had landed almost three times that of the Korean.
Years later an investigation found that apparently the judges had been wined and dined by South Korean officials during the games, but unfortunately there was not enough evidence to prove anything else other than that.
I’ll never forget one documentary on the fight that conveyed how monks in South Korea at the time were so shamed by the decision against the American, that they convinced him to visit their temple where they delivered a public apology on behalf of their country for what was done to him.
Jones ended up winning the boxer of the tournament for 1988, which offered little consolation for the gold medal he lost out on, but the American was to have the last laugh in the end, compiling an incredible career at the top level of the sport when he turned professional afterwards.
Roy Jones Jr to this day is one of only two men in the history of professional boxing to win world titles at both the middleweight limit and all the way up at heavyweight, a feat that may never be equalled again.
This short special feature from the History Channel years later on that infamous night in 1988 (that proved to be the making of Roy as a pro) paints a vivid picture of the remarkable series of events that went on:
Fast forward to 2016 and Ireland’s Michael Conlan this week has felt the same agonising pain as Roy Jones Jr did all those years ago in Seol.
But perhaps this year’s games more than ever, the scandal was highlighted far more than Roy’s, because of the new social media age we live in where fans now have the ability to share their opinions instantly all around the world.
Something must change. But will it, though?
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