Heavyweight greats Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko went at it this week in the ongoing debate over professionals competing at the Olympic Games.
AIBA chiefs have not heeded warnings from several high profile boxing personnel over allowing seasoned fighters into the quadrennial tournaments.
Even the World Boxing Council has moved to promise two-year suspensions to any current pros who enter the 2020 event.
Lewis has always been a staunch opposer to the rule brought in for Rio 2016, although may have met his match in fellow gold medalist Klitschko.
‘The Pugilist Specialist’ made his feelings known again in the week the WBC reiterated their stance at a press conference.
But Klitschko then bit back.
“Professional boxers should NOT be fighting in the Olympics against amateur fighters. Someone could get seriously hurt,” said Lewis.
“You don’t PLAY boxing like other many other Olympic sports. This is a very bad idea. #MyTwoCents”
Klitschko replied: “Nonsense! As a matter of fact – All the pros lost in the Rio Olympics.
“A professional fighter is at a clear disadvantage if he fights in an amateur ring and under amateur rules.
“I’ve practically spent hundreds of rounds sparring with the amateurs, I know what I’m talking about!”
Nonsense! As a matter of fact – All the pro’s lost in the Rio Olympics. A professional fighter is in a clear disadvantage if he fights in an amateur ring and under amateur rules. I’ve practically spent hundreds of rounds sparring with the amateurs, I know what I’m talking about!
— Klitschko (@Klitschko) October 10, 2019
Returning fire, Lewis stated: “Bro, there are levels to this. Are u trying to tell me that at your physical peak as a pro, you would be disadvantaged stepping into a ring for three rounds against an amateur fighter from third world country who doesn’t have the same training resources as you? 🤦🏾♂️ I know I wouldn’t be!
“I said third world because generally, an amateur fighter from somewhere like Ghana would not have the same training camp resources as a world-class pro would. But even if they did, the experience you gain becoming world-class pro is an extreme advantage,” he added.
In what eventually became a comical shutdown, Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes got involved.
Barnes agreed with Klitschko strongly. Even informing Lewis he was possibly commenting on something he ‘hadn’t got a clue about’.
Lewis replied with a killer blow.
“Nice. But last time I checked, I’m the only one between the two of us with an Olympic Gold medal,” he told the Irishman.