Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 22, 1996
Date Finished: August 4, 1996
Format: Single elimination tournament.
|Bronze:|| Pablo Chacón
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
[Serafim Todorov] of Bulgaria had been the outstanding featherweight in the world since the 1992 Games and won both of the World Championships in that period. Despite losing the final of the European Championships to [Ramaz Paliani] of Russia early in 1996 he still arrived in Atlanta as a strong favourite for gold. As well as Paliani, Asian champion [Somluck Kamsing], a convert from Thai-style boxing, and Cuban [Lorenzo Aragon] were also expected to mount medal challenges.
The joker in the pack came from the host nation in the shape of [Floyd Mayweather, Jr.], a precociously talented teenager whose father and uncle had been outstanding professionals a decade earlier. Mayweather won his first bouts then dispatched Pan-American champion Aragon on a 12-11 decision in the quarter-finals. This was the first time an American boxer had beaten a Cuban at the Olympics since 1976. This set the scene for a Todorov-Mayweather semi-final which was to become one of the major talking points of the whole tournament. Todorov was ruled the winner on a 10-9 decision which was roundly booed by the American fans in the arena. The US team filed a protest alleging that head boxing official, a countryman of Todorov's, intimidated the judges into favouring the Bulgarian but this was dismissed by the AIBA.
Meanwhile Somluck Kamsing had made his way to the final in less controversial fashion. Thailand had never previously won an Olympic title in 40 years of participation but Kamsing was in no mood to fail and took an early lead against Todorov that he never let go and won by 8-5.
He became a national hero in Thailand and, despite being nominally amateur, received $1,000,000 in gifts from government and business sources. He eventually competed in 4 Olympic Games but this was the only medal he won.
Both losing semi-finalists became world champions as professionals with Mayweather becoming one of the few genuine superstars of the sport as the sport declined from the start of the 21st century. By the start of 2013 he remained unbeaten as a professional through 2013 and had career earnings of $213 million.
|3T||Floyd Mayweather, Jr.||19||United States||USA||Bronze|
|9T||Philip Ndou||19||South Africa||RSA|
|17T||Sin Su-Yeong||25||South Korea||KOR|
|17T||Luís Seda||20||Puerto Rico||PUR|
|17T||Lynch Ipera||19||Papua New Guinea||PNG|
|17T||David Burke||21||Great Britain||GBR|