ByJoshua Molina, writer at Creators.co
Award-winning journalist. Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Joshua Molina

The International Boxing Association has ruled that professional boxers can compete in the Olympics and it could happen as early as this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Fighters will compete for 26 open spots during a qualifying tournament in July. The move marks a dramatic departure from a tradition that saw up-and-coming fighters such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and Muhammad Ali rise to win medals before turning professional.

Some traditionalists have come unglued over the decision, saying that the allowing pro fighters to compete with amateurs is unsafe and potentially dangerous. Professional fighters only have to be under 40 to compete.

The Olympics already let other pro athletes compete. NBA players have been winning gold medals for years in basketball. Just as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James don't deserve Olympic Gold Medals while they are pulling down multimillion-dollar salaries in the NBA, pro boxers probably shouldn't be allowed to fight amateur kids.

The truth is, however, that it's not really likely that a top pro boxer is going to give up a huge paycheck to spend time training to compete in the Olympics. We might see some mid-level young fighters who missed out on opportunities try to win a medal.

If a boxer is making good money fighting professionally, going back in time to win a symbolic medal probably isn't going to appeal to Tyson Fury or Amir Khan. It will give a second chance to guys who missed out on an Olympic dream, who have not risen through the ranks professionally.

The real crime in this? When is MMA going to get sanctioned as an Olympic sport. Now that's where the conversation should be had. MMA athletes competing in the Olympics will help educate the masses about MMA.

Do you think professional boxers should fight in the Olympics? Let us know in the comments!