Olympics Is Opening Its Rings to Professional Boxers


Sugar Ray Leonard of the United States, left, beat East Germany’s Ulrich Beyer on his way to a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Associated Press

The Olympics, once a bastion of the amateur ideal, have in recent years welcomed millionaire professionals like Roger Federer and LeBron James, and this summer they will host top golfers like Rory McIlroy.

Could Manny Pacquiao or Tyson Fury be next?

Boxing, one of the last Olympic sports nominally limited to amateurs, is likely to begin allowing professional boxers to compete in 2016.

As it stands, a young fighter who chooses to begin boxing professionally forfeits his Olympic eligibility. Every sport in the Olympics used to have such rules, limiting basketball, for example, to college players. But the doors have been gradually opened to professionals, and boxing may finally be the last to join in.

“Professional boxers will be at Rio: I don’t know how many, but they will be,” the head of the amateur boxing federation, Wu…

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