Connect to share and comment

A global sports blog.

Teofilo Stevenson, Cuban boxing legend, dies of heart attack at age 60

Teofilo Stevenson, the Cuban heavyweight boxer who won three Olympic gold medals, has died aged of 60.
Teofilo StevensonEnlarge
Teofilo Stevenson (centre) with a gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. (AFP/Getty Images)

Teofilo Stevenson, the Cuban heavyweight boxer who won three Olympic gold medals, has died aged of 60.

The BBC cited Cuban state media as saying he suffered a heart attack.

Stevenson, who spent his entire boxing career as an amateur in Cuba, was considered by some as the best fighter in the world, even when compared with the likes of Muhammad Ali.   

In the 1970s, he famously turned down $5 million to fight Ali, then world heavyweight champion. 

"What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?" Stevenson said, Fox News reported.

Professional sports were deemed illegal after the Cuban revolution.

Stevenson, who according to an Associated Press obituary was born in Las Tunas province in eastern Cuba, fought his first bout at the age of 14.

Growing to 6 foot 3 and a half inches in height, he won gold medals in 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal and 1980 in Moscow. 

Cuba boycotted the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, and Stevenson retired in 1988 after Havana decided to skip the Seoul Olympics, too, the AP wrote.

He was known as much for a "devastating right hand" as for his sportsmanship, Fox wrote.

He told CNN in a May interview that: "Cubans like to box because of our temperament. Because of our idiosyncrasies and because we have needed to know how to defend ourselves."

A father of two, Stevenson served as vice president of Cuba's boxing federation and at the island's national sports institute. 

More from GlobalPost: A Pacquiao loss, a pall over the Philippines

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/teofilo-stevenson-cuba-boxing-muhammad-ali-heart-attack-olympics