Eubank Jr's Actions Prove Why Olympic Boxing Must Remain Amateur

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When Chris Eubank Jnr posted a narcissistic and somewhat uncalled for video on social media a few weeks ago of him flattening an amateur sparring partner, the boxing fraternity was suitably outraged. The general consensus seemed to be that he'd crossed the line, bullying and perhaps psychologically scarring a young fighter who it turned out had yet to have a professional contest.

That one clip could actually provide a chilling glimpse into the near future however, as this week the Olympic committee announced that they are looking into the possibility of allowing professional fighters into the tournament's boxing event.

The repercussions of this could be huge and there is a real danger of someone being seriously hurt if the floodgates to pro fighters are opened.

Let's take the difference between the amateur and professional fight game for starters. Even in the way it's scored, there is a seismic difference between the two strands. The amateur fight game is all about technique and scoring clean shots, relying on accuracy rather than brute force. Its philosophy is also purer in principle. Amateur boxing serves as an apprenticeship for young fighters in a safe environment to learn the sport. Pro boxing is set up where the power shot is prevalent and the ethos for the main part is causing damage and getting the other guy out of there as quickly as possible.

As intriguing as it might be to see an amateur face off against a professional over three short rounds, the chasm between the two is too far reaching for it to be anything but a bloodbath.


There are also other ways the sport and image of boxing could be damaged with this decision too. In terms of their stringent testing at the Games, it would be interesting to see what a section of the pro fighters would turn up as results. Let's not be naive here. When it comes to the business end of boxing there has been steroid use over the last thirty years. Whilst European blood tests are a regular thing amongst it's boards, other countries are hardly operating with the same discipline. In a sport that's been tarnished and diluted over the past decade due to promoting politics and dull activity, it might seem a perfect opportunity to clean up the sport and weed out its cheats, but in PR terms it could be an outright disaster.

The saving grace with all this of course is that professional fighters have hardly been tripping over themselves to throw their hats into the ring when it comes to the potential of representing their country. Pro boxing boils down to money and reputation. Unless millions (and I mean millions) are on offer, the top guys aren't even going to consider it. Only Manny Pacquiao has been energetically championing the subject this week and cynically it's easy to see why. Having damaged his own political career recently with his homophobic comments, Pacquiao is using the Olympics as a piece of patriotic chest beating. Does anyone believe he's desperate to represent the Phillipines at the games rather than using this as a deflection tactic and damage limitation in his own political career? I know where my money would be if I we're to bet on it.

It all boils down to motives at the end of the day. Pacquiao's sleight of hand would be just a glimpse and small fry if the innocent ethos of amateur boxing was subjected to the cash cow promoters and vainglorious individuals of the pro game and in a day and age in sport where very little is pure anymore and even less protected - that ultimately could be the best reason for keeping Olympic boxing as an amateur pastime of them all.