At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson turned down an offer of $5 million from American promoters to turn professional and fight the then world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. "What is $5million against five million Cubans who love me?" asked Stevenson. His predecessors, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and light heavyweight gold medallist Ali had all gone on to become professionals and won the world title.
Stevenson won the first of his record three Olympic golds in the heavyweight boxing event at Munich in 1972. None of his opponents completed three full rounds with him. Besides his superior boxing technique, he also towered over all of them at almost 2 m.
In 1976, Stevenson came into the Olympics with the Amateur World Heavyweight and the Pan-American Games titles under his belt. He scored two knock-outs in the preliminary rounds and in the final, stopped Romania's Mircea Simon in round three.
Stevenson was 29 years old when he took part in the Moscow Olympics and not at his best. Even so, he cruised smoothly to the final with two easy knock-outs and a points win over a Hungarian boxer, Istvan Levi in the semifinal. His opponent in the final was Russian Pyotr Zaev. At least 17 cm shorter than the Cuban, Zaev lost the bout 4-1 to Stevenson in a unanimous decision. To his credit, he was only the second boxer to finish three rounds in Stevenson's 11 Olympic bouts!