Jones won the 1984 United States National Junior Olympics in the 119 lb (54 kg) weight division, the 1986 United States National Golden Gloves in the 139 lb (63 kg) division and the 1987 United States National Golden Gloves in the 156 lb (71 kg) division. As an amateur, he ended his career with a 121–13 record.
Jones represented the United States at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, where he won the silver medal. He dominated his opponents, never losing a single round en route to the final. His participation in the final was met with controversy when he lost a 3–2 decision to South Korean fighter Park Si-Hun despite pummeling Park for three rounds, landing 86 punches to Park's 32. Allegedly, Park himself apologized to Jones afterward and the referee told Jones that he was dumbstruck by the judge's decision. One judge shortly thereafter admitted the decision was a mistake and all three judges voting against Jones were eventually suspended. An official IOC investigation ending in 1997 found that three of the judges had been wined and dined by South Korean officials. This led to calls for Jones to be awarded a gold medal, but the IOC still officially stands by the decision, despite the allegations. Jones was awarded the Val Barker trophy, as the best stylistic boxer of the 1988 games, which was only the third and to this day the last time in the competition's history when the award did not go to one of the gold medal winners. The incident led Olympic organizers to establish a new scoring system for Olympic boxing.
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Famous quotes containing the words career and/or amateur:
“In time your relatives will come to accept the idea that a career is as important to you as your family. Of course, in time the polar ice cap will melt.”
—Barbara Dale (b. 1940)
“I have been reporting club meetings for four years and I am tired of hearing reviews of the books I was brought up on. I am tired of amateur performances at occasions announced to be for purposes either of enjoyment or improvement. I am tired of suffering under the pretense of acquiring culture. I am tired of hearing the word culture used so wantonly. I am tired of essays that let no guilty author escape quotation.”
—Josephine Woodward, U.S. author. As quoted in Everyone Was Brave, ch. 3, by William L. ONeill (1969)