He is one of the worlds’ best boxers, but he may never get the financial rewards of a professional career.
For Cuban heavyweight champion Felix Sabon, fighting for his country in the amateur Pan-American Games in Argentina is just as satisfying.
He is a world and Olympic boxing champion.
But in a sport where superstar boxers like American Mike Tyson can make (m) millions of dollars, Sabon has yet to draw a paycheck.
A member of the Cuban boxing team here at the Pan-American Games in Buenos Aires, he is forbidden to turn professional.
The pressure to win in Cuba may be greater than anywhere else in the world, but Sabon says rumors that he must be victorious or else are false.
No, I don’t want to turn professional. There is a lot of pressure there. They take you and work you and even send the mafia after you. I don’t want that.”
SUPER CAPTION: Felix Sabon Cuban boxer
Despite Sabon’s confidence, one has to wonder if he dreams of the day he can step into the ring and fight for the professional heavyweight championship of the world.
Boxing insiders all over the world say Sabon could be worth (m) millions of dollars in todays depleted heavyweight ranks.
And Sabon is not the only fighter on the Cuban Olympic team that boxing promoters around the world are fighting to sgn on.
If any of the Cuban team ever decide to step into the professional ring, they will find on shortage of eager managers.
Experts say it’s likely this team will win every weight division at the Pan-American Games.
In almost every country, that type of talent should translate into professional success.
But for Felix Sabon and his countrymen, the dream of a professional career may remain just that.