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1970s / Duane Bobick-John Tate 1979
Duane Bobick was an outstanding American amateur boxing hopeful in the early 1970s. Among his defeated opponents were future world heavyweight champion Larry Holmes and Cuba's superb Teofilo Stevenson. The favorite to win the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Bobick was instead knocked out in the quarterfinals by Stevenson. Turning pro shortly thereafter, Bobick won his first 38 pro fights. Although the quality of many of Bobick's opponents was questionable, Bobick did defeat a handful of capable fighters such as Mike Weaver, Randy Neumann, Chuck Wepner and Scott LeDoux. NBC gave Bobick a prime-time fight versus Ken Norton on Wednesday, May 11, 1977 as a means of elevating him to a modern version of the "Great White Hope." With 42 million people watching, Norton dispatched Bobick inside of one round. (I posted that bout on this website several years ago.) After that debacle, Bobick recorded six wins and a loss to South African Kallie Koenetze, so ABC decided to give Bobick another shot at making it big. On February 17, 1979, Bobick was matched against John Tate, an American bronze medallist from 1976 (who had coincidentally also been knocked silly by Teofilo Stevenson) in a live feature bout from Indianapolis on Wide World of Sports. Surely Bobick would fare better this time, right?