Floyd Mayweather Jr. is considered by many as the greatest boxers of all time. The 44-year-old American has an unbeaten record in his professional career and has a total of 27 knockouts to his credit.
Even after boasting of such an incredible career, Floyd Mayweather does not compete at the Olympics – the pinnacle of all sporting events. Why?
Well, to start off, Floyd Mayweather did compete in the Olympics. In fact, he even has an Olympic bronze medal against his name, which he clinched for the United States of America in the Featherweight category during the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
But then why does not he compete anymore at the Olympics?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. Soon after the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta, Floyd Mayweather turned professional, and he has not competed at the quadrennial Games since. This is strictly because of the fact that only amateur boxers are allowed to compete at the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC did allow professional boxers to compete at the Olympics for the first time during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
What is the difference between Professional Boxing and Amateur Boxing?
The biggest difference between professional and amateur boxing is the fact that professional boxers are paid by organisations to fight, and it is their primary source of income. While amateur boxers are not paid by organisations as such but earn their livelihood by earning outside of the sport or through sponsors.
Besides, the rules of professional and amateur boxing are vastly different. While an amateur boxing match lasts for a maximum of three rounds inside a standardised boxing ring, professional boxing matches last up to 12 rounds with the size of the ring not standardised.
Moreover, the scoring system too is very different. In amateur boxing, five judges score the boxers on the basis of the total punches landed on the opponent. Besides, the punches have to be made through the knuckle part of the closed glove and should always land on the head, front or side of the body and always above the belt to be counted as legal.
Whereas in professional boxing, the judges use a ten-point system to determine the winner of each round, while points are awarded no just on the basis of the punches landed on the opponent but also on the basis of set criteria like defence, effective aggression and others.
Anyone starting out as a boxer can directly turn into a professional boxer. It is not necessary for one to start as an amateur boxer and then turn professional like Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Vijender Singh did.