Often in boxing, a brilliant, stellar, distinguished, and almost unworldly (you get the idea) amateur career in no way means that a fighter will have a guaranteed stellar career as a professional. A classic example of this, the beautifully talented Odlanier Solis. Cuban Solís, the orthodox fighter, this is very rare for Cuban boxers who always ‘go the wrong way’, he has won almost everything to win at the amateur level:
Olympic gold, gold at three World Championships, gold at two Pan American Games, with Solís winning, among others at the amateur level, Felix Savon, Sultan Ibragimov, David Hay, Aleksandr Alekseev and Kubrat Pulev.
But once he defected from Cuba and began fighting in Miami, Solis, finding the American Dream, began to lose his discipline and develop a penchant for fast food and an easy lifestyle (one story was told of how Solis was) amazed to see how easy it was to pick up the phone. In this way, McDonald’s would be there to eat).
Hungry (of the proper kind, obviously) and determined amateur, Solis was a sleek, agile, 200-pound boxing pro. As a professional, Solis’ weight, despite standing at 6 feet 1 inch, was routinely over the 250-pound mark. It was a terrible waste of talent. Solis, had he kept his discipline, might have really been great. We will never know. Solis consumed the junk food he fell in love with, and essentially ate himself out of his career, as his formidable skills deteriorated one day.
It was on this day in 2011, when 30-year-old Solis — undefeated at 17-0 but looking no less special in wins over Chauncey Williver and Ray Austin, while looking good in the care of Monty Barrett — got his win and fired Just shot a world title. Facing Vitali Klitschko for the WBC and Ring Magazine belts, Solis fell into one bizarre and awkward round in Germany.
Having dropped slightly, but not enough weight at 246 pounds, Solís was caught with a right hand in the head at the end of the opening round, and went down hard, grabbing his right leg. It was clear that Solis was in distress and the fight was called. Critics tore Solis, but it was later confirmed that he had torn his knee. There has been talk of Solis carrying the injury into the ring with him, and his team is well aware of the problem.
Everyone laughed at Solis and his career was over. After surgery on his knee, Solís racked up three close victories, before losing back-to-back fights to Tony Thompson and an ever-inflating waist. His promoters were tearing their hair out because of his sheer lack of will, Solis retired with a record of 22-3 (14), this in 2016.
Maybe Solís could have been a world champion, maybe he could have been great. As it was, Solis was destined to become the heavyweight’s ultimate poster child for wasted talent. for wasted talents. A lot of fighters would kill for the kind of natural talent and skill that La Sombra is blessed with.
what a shame.
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