By Ken Hissner: There were six USA Olympic Gold Medalists who went on to win the world heavyweight title starting in 1952 when Floyd Patterson won the Gold as a middleweight in Helsinki, Finland. He was 40-4 with 37 knockouts in the amateurs.
Upon signing with Jim Jacobs, he was trained by legendary trainer Cus D’Amato who convinced this 165 lb middleweight, “You are a heavyweight!” He labeled it “mind over matter!”
In 1956 Patterson knocked out Light Heavyweight champion Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore in 5 rounds for the vacant heavyweight title vacated by unbeaten Rocky Marciano. He was 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts and was inducted into the IBHOF.
In 1960 Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, lost in the heavyweight trials to Percy Price but was allowed to compete in the light heavyweight trial and knocked out Allen Hudson to go to the Rome, Italy Olympics. He defeated Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski for the Gold Medal.
There have been six records that may have been Clay’s as an amateur, anywhere from 99 to 137 wins and 3 to 8 losses. He was trained by Angelo Dundee.
Clay would change his name, becoming a Muslim after stopping heavyweight champ Sonny Liston to the name Muhammad Ali in 1964. He was 56-5 with 37 knockouts winning the title three times. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
In 1964 Tokyo, Japan Olympics ”Smokin” Joe Frazier lost in the trials to Buster Mathis, who broke a finger in the bout being replaced by Frazier. Frazier defeated Germany’s Hans Huber for Gold. Several records included 38-1, 2, 3, or 4. He was signed by Cloverlay and trained by Yank Durham and Eddie Futch.
Frazier won the heavyweight title in 1970 by stopping Jimmy Ellis. He was 32-4-1 with 27 knockouts. He was inducted into the IBHOF.
In 1968 “Big” George Foreman won Gold in the Mexico City, Mexico Olympics defeating Soviet Union’s Ion Alexe for the Gold. His record was either 21-5 or 22-4.
Foreman, in 1973, knocked out “Smokin” Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title in Jamaica. He was 76-5 with 68 knockouts and was inducted into the IBHOF.
In 1976 Leon and Michael Spinks won Gold in Montreal, Canada. Michael won the Middleweight Gold stopping the Soviet Union’s Rufat Riskiyev. He was 93-7 with 35 knockouts.
Spinks won the light heavyweight title in 1981, defeating Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. In 1985 he became the first reigning light heavy champ to win the heavyweight title defeating Larry Holmes 48-0. He was 31-1 with 21 knockouts and was inducted into the IBHOF.
Leon won the Olympic Light Heavy title in Montreal, Canada, stopping Cuba’s Sixto Soria. He was 178-7 with 133 knockouts.
Spinks, in 1978, defeated Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight title. He was 26-17-3 with 14 knockouts.
1988 “Merciless” Ray Mercer in Seoul, South Korea, won the Heavyweight Gold knocking out Baik Hyun-Man of South Korea.
Mercer won the heavyweight title in 1991, stopping Francisco Damiani. He was 36-7-1 with 26 knockouts.