Teofilo Stevenson represented Cuba in the heavyweight division at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, the 1976 Montreal Games, and the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia. He won the Gold medal at all three Olympic competitions. At Munich, he became Cuba’s first Olympic gold medalist in boxing.
Stevenson was the reigning world champion in 1984 when Cuba boycotted the Los Angeles Games and again in 1988 during the Seoul boycott. Teofilo Stevenson potentially could have captured Olympic gold at five consecutive Olympic Games competitions.
In 1995, I met Stevenson, quite by accident, when I spotted him coming out of the restaurant in Havana. I offered to buy him a drink and we spent the next several hours getting to know each other. That was the beginning of our close friendship that lasted until he passed away in 2012.
As a frequent traveler to Cuba in the 1990s, we spent a great deal of time together and shared a lot of good times, holidays and special events. I even spent a week in Havana with Stevenson and Muhammad Ali in in 1996. He often referred to me as “Mi Hermano.”
In 1999, I sat down with the Olympic legend at his house in Cuba and tape recorded a formal interview. Later, I wrote a profile story around that session that was published in the Spring 2000 issue of Smoke Magazine entitled “The Cuban Legend.” Teofilo Stevenson is gone but not forgotten…