Olympic dream ends for Hunter
September 25, 2011 - 1:00 am
Michael Hunter’s quest for Olympic gold appears to be over.
The 23-year-old Las Vegas heavyweight was scheduled to compete for a spot in next summer’s London Games by participating in this week’s AIBA World Championships in Azerbaijan. But Hunter left Team USA for unspecified reasons before the team’s Sept. 17 departure for the Asian country.
If Hunter had competed and placed in the top six in his division, he would have received a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
USA Boxing announced Friday that Hunter has been replaced by Joseph Williams of New York City, giving no explanation as to why Hunter was no longer on the team. Hunter defeated Williams in the final of the U.S. Olympic Trials last month in Mobile, Ala. A USA Boxing spokesperson said there would be no further comment or information regarding Hunter’s status.
Attempts to reach Hunter, his mother, Gwen, and his business manager, Mustafa Ameen, were unsuccessful. Trainer Freddie Roach, who is working with Team USA as an adviser, said he knew something was wrong when Hunter stopped coming to work out before the team’s departure for Azerbaijan.
“It’s very strange,” Roach said Friday from the Philippines, where he is preparing Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 12 welterweight title fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. “(Hunter) stopped showing up to the gym the last couple of days, and I said to the coaches, ‘We need to address this.’ Next thing I know, he’s left the team.”
Hunter was making his second attempt at the Olympics. He lost at the world championships as a super heavyweight in 2007. This year, he had positioned himself to make the team, having won the Golden Gloves national title and the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Hunter also served as a sparring partner in June for world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who was preparing to fight David Haye.
■ MAYWEATHER-ORTIZ NUMBERS — Paid attendance for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz welterweight title fight Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden was 13,364 and generated a gate of $9 million, according to numbers released by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
There were 1,268 complimentary tickets issued.
The pay-per-view numbers are still being calculated, but published reports last week stated there were 1.3 million to 1.4 million buys for the fight, which was shown on HBO PPV.
Both fighters tested clean for steroids and performance-enhancing drugs after the bout.
NAC executive director Keith Kizer said he spoke to Ortiz’s manager, Rolando Arellano, and there are no plans by the Ortiz camp to file a protest over the controversial end to the fight that came with Mayweather Jr. knocking out Ortiz with two quick punches after a break by referee Joe Cortez for an Ortiz head-butt.
■ TEXAS CARD — Sharif Bogere will defend his NABO lightweight title Oct. 7 at Texas Station against Francisco Contreras in a 10-round main event.
Bogere (20-0, 12 knockouts) is coming off a 10-round decision over Ray Beltran in May and will be making his first title defense. Contreras (16-0, 13 KOs) won his last bout by decision, defeating Adolfo Landeros in March.
The card will air on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox: The New Generation” series.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.