The idea of a professional athlete squaring off against a skilled amateur has a long history in sports. It’s been the source of television shows, like the “Pros vs. Joes” series on Spike TV. It’s an idea behind pro-am tournaments in golf. It’s the inspiration for many movies, and even the source of a pretzel commercial.
While there are sports where an amateur may be allowed to play with the professionals for a little while, there are others where it would be deeply inadvisable.
Among those is boxing, which is something that Arturo Mayan learned the hard way.
In January, 1994 in Mallorca, Spain, World Champion flyweight boxer Alex Sanchez stepped into the ring for his first bout after having won the title. He was up against Arturo Mayan, a boxer with only three prior professional bouts. Mayan had won all three of those fights decisively, which is what landed him the opportunity to take on the champ.
One would think that the commission in charge of putting together championship bouts would bother to perform even the most basic of verification regarding a challenger’s stated record. In this case, one would be incorrect. Only after the fight were Mayan’s claims checked, and an investigation demonstrated that Mayan had, in fact, never had a single professional bout.
The reason the claims were checked was because of the fight’s outcome. Mere seconds into the match, Mayan recognized that he was completely outmatched… and Sanchez recognized that his opponent had no concept about even the basic elements of prizefighting. After only a handful of punches, Mayan employed the unusual tactic of turning his back on Sanchez and hoping he wouldn’t get hit.
As Weirdboxing.info put it:
It didn’t take long for Mayan to turn his back on the champion forcing referee Ismael W. Fernandez to wave the bout off and effectively end Mayan’s career with a record of 0-1.
Because the prior matches were completely unsubstantiated, Mayan’s professional boxing career clocked in at 90 seconds, total… and during that minute and a half, he was fighting for the title of World Champion.
Question of the night : What sport would you most want to play against a professional athlete?