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With the Athens Olympics in full swing, observers of the sport of boxing are hard pressed to name the future stars of the sport, remembering that Olympic boxing has been - since 1956 - the effective minor leagues of professional boxing. From the rigors of Olympic competition have come Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Nino Benvenuti, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael and Leon Spinks, Evander Holyfield, Kostya Tszyu, Oscar De La Hoya, to highlight only some of the great Olympic stars. Well, that developmental lineage seems to be a historical fact, no longer supported by reality. Boxing gold medallists at the Olympics are no longer automatically stars in the making, brought into global recognition in winning amateur boxing's greatest prize.
Then again professional sports, in general, are viewed by a more skeptical viewer than has ever been the case in Western cultural history. Millionaire athletes acting out celebrity lives or criminality, sportsmen and sportswomen 'artificially' enhancing their performances with designer drug regiments, superstars ignoring their audiences or personal histories, many and varied are the reasons for athletes being held in a conditional contempt even among their fans.