Roy Jones Jr. Recounts Almost Quitting Boxing After Being Robbed of an Olympic Gold Medal

Published 12/28/2020, 9:06 AM EST
LAS VEGAS – NOVEMBER 18,1994: Roy Jones Jr. celebrates winning the fight against James Toney at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Roy Jones Jr.won the IBF super middleweight title by a UD 12. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine via Getty Images)


Roy Jones Jr. had one of the most illustrious boxing careers in history, having won championships across divisions. However, his career ended before it started. RJJ almost quit boxing after a controversial decision loss in the Gold Medal fight at the 1988 Olympics.

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He spoke to Shannon Sharpe and opened up on the experience. “I was sick. I said this may not be the sport for me because anytime you run a race and finish first and still come second, there’s something wrong with that sport. You know? Maybe boxing ain’t for me.”

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RJJ added, “I should quit boxing and let it go. Then I got home and realized, that it could be a blessing in disguise. Because after, nobody was looking for guys that won gold medals.

“They were looking for guys that got cheated and got the silver medal. that blew my mind. To show quickly God can turn your worst nightmare into the biggest blessing of all time. In my worst time, when I was at the lowest point of my life.

“I had sacrificed 9 years, and I got robbed, I thought that was it for me. I was more famous than anyone. Even the guys that won the gold medal.”

Roy Jones Jr.- What happened in 1988?

Roy Jones Jr. competed in the light-middleweight division in the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Getting to the gold medal match was no problem for the 19-year-old amateur who breezed his way into the final.

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His opponent was South Korean Park Si-hun, who had won a controversial decision in the semi-finals to make it to the last match. RJJ dominated and landed 86 punches, while Park hit just 32.

LAS VEGAS – APRIL 02: Boxer Roy Jones Jr. poses during the official weigh-in for his bout against Bernard Hopkins at the Mandalay Bay Events Center April 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will meet in a light heavyweight bout on April 3 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

What’s more, Park also faced 2 standing 8-counts. Despite this, he won the fight in a 3-2 split decision, a result that disgusted the referee, Aldo Leoni, as well.

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RJJ was given the silver medal, and the greatest injustice in Olympic boxing history still stands after multiple failed appeals by multiple arbitration bodies.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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