Floyd Mayweather coming out of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics on home soil without a gold medal seems an unfathomable event considering what he went on to achieve.
But like others before and after him, namely Roy Jones Jr. and Michael Conlan, Mayweather was a victim of a broken amateur system.
Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers ever to grace the sport. Therefore, how unheralded Bulgarian Serafim Todorov knocked him out of the competition in the Tournament Quarter-Finals is anyone’s guess.
Conspiracy theories have been raised ever since a 19-year-old Mayweather bemusingly left Georgia with a bronze medal. Fingers have pointed at Emil Jetchev, the Bulgarian chairman of the International Referees’ and Judges’ Commission on more than one occasion.
Although unproven, Jetchev was involved in one of his own countries greatest victories could tell its own story. Add to that a deflection story that Jetchev also affected the final to make sure Todorov didn’t win. Then you have a perfect storm.
Whatever the case may be, Mayweather lost and has since been unfazed by questions on his reverse controversy.
If you believe the former pound for pound star, gaining an Olympic gold medal wasn’t the major mission of his career. He went on to become one of ‘The Best Ever’ anyway.
The man he should have met in the final and the competitor who took Mayweather’s gold was Somluck Kamsing. A former Asian champion, Kamsing defeated Todorov 8-5 in the showpiece event of the 96′ Games.
In an ideal world, and certainly – for USA Boxing, Mayweather should have been the organization’s poster boy.
Four years prior, Oscar De La Hoya emerged as a world star after claiming gold in Barcelona. De La Hoya was pushed hard and was an instant ticket seller due to subsequent publicity.
As for Mayweather, he had to fight considerably harder to make his name as a Bronze medal just didn’t cut it.
Saying that – even David Reid – who did win the gold at light-middleweight, struggled to get a leg up.
So what became of Kamsing? – Well, the man with a nickname that means ‘Boastful Forever’ stayed in the unpaid ranks until 2004, competing in two more Olympic Games.
In Sydney at 2000 competition. Kamsing lost in the Round of 16. Four years later, in Athens, he lost at the very first stage.
It begs the question what would have changed if Floyd Mayweather had earned his rightful place at the top of the podium?
I mean, Kamsing refrained from embarking on a professional boxing career. He ended up competing in Muay Thai – largely unsuccessfully in the championship and legacy stakes.
Dabbling in movies and a music career due to his notoriety on the back of unwarranted achievement, Kamsing has become something of a sideshow when competing in exhibitions where he was only allowed to punch.
Sounds familiar, considering.