CUBA- Cuban boxing hero Teófilo Stevenson was buried today in Havana after suffering a heart attack according to state media.
The 6 ft 5 in, 220 lbs heavyweight dominated international rings in the amateur division over the 1970s and 80s with his fearsome right hook and upright style.
Born on March 29, 1952 in the Cuban town of Puerto Padre, one of five children, he began boxing at age 14 and quickly became a Cuban junior champion.
Nicknamed “Priolo” he went on to win three Olympic gold medals, joining Laszlo Papp of Hungary as the second boxer to win three separate Olympic Games. He may have even won a fourth had Cuba not boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
He scored knockouts or technical knockouts in nine of his Olympic bouts, won two others by a three-round decision and won the final in 1972 when his Romanian opponent defaulted because of an injury.
The pugilist became a hero to Cubans and a national treasure by refusing to leave the country, shunning exorbitant offers from US promoters to abandon Cuba and turn pro.
A 1974 Sports Illustrated article headlined “He’d Rather Be Red Than Rich” quoted Stevenson as saying “No, I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that.”
“What is a million dollars,” he added, “against eight million Cubans who love me?”
Priolo retired in 1987 with a record of 301 victories in 321 bouts over a lengthy 20-year career. He was later vice president of Cuba’s boxing federation and its national sports institute. His wife and two children survive him.
Former leader Fidel Castro, president Raul Castro and Venezuela’s left-wing President Hugo Chavez sent floral arrangements.