Cubans will have to fight in Canada, in front of a pro-American crowd.
Preparation of the Cuban team :
For the 6th Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Guatemala City, in August 1975, Cuba wins only 2 gold and 1 silver medals, a very bad result for this country. Hector Ramirez, Genovefo Grinan and R. Arrevalo are the only medalists. It is possible that Cuba had sent a B team, just before the 7th Pan Am Games.
At the 7th Pan American Games in Mexico City in October 1975, the gold medalists are Jorge Hernandez (-48kg), Ramon Duvalon (-51 kg) Orlando Martinez (-54kg) against Bernard Taylor/USA, Rolando Garbey (-71kg ), Alejandro Montoya (-75kg), Rene Pedroso against Leon Spinks/USA (-81kg) and Teofilo Stevenson against Michael Dokes/USA (81 kg)
The silver medalists are Genovefo Grinan behind Dave Armstrong/USA (-57kg), and Viktor Corona behind Ray Leonard (-63 kg).
The bronze medalists are Luis Echaide while Aaron Pryor/USA is silver medalist (-60 kg), Emilio Correa (-67 kg), while Clinton Jackson/USA is gold medalist.
A strong U.S. opposition is growing, with fighters who will be present at the 1976 Olympic Games.
Cuban stamps for the 7th Pan American Games
For the Pre-Olympic Tournament in Montreal in December 1975, 3 Cubans are in the finals, with only one elimination during the preliminaries. Hector Ramirez loses against Gyorgy Gedo/Hungary (-48 kg), Bienvenido Lazo wins against Vassily Solomin/URSS (-60 kg) and Luis Felipe Martinez loses against Viktor Savchenko/USSR (-71 kg).
During the tournament between Yugoslavia and Cuba, in Banja Luka/YU, in February 1976, Cuba loses by 8 losses to 4 wins, with a B Team. In the second competition, still in Yugoslavia, the result is 5 wins and 5 losses, with the same type of team. Thereafter, Cuba meets Montenegro and won by 6 wins to 3 losses, with the same fighters.
In the Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament in May 1976, Cuba wins almost all the medals available.
In summary, Cuba seems to have followed the same type of preparation as the 1972 one.
Olympic Games :
The Olympic tournament takes place from July 18th to 31st, 1976.
(-54 Kg) Orlando Martinez loses his second match, vs Soon Chul Hwang/South Korea, on points 3-2. Orlando Martinez has already participated in the 1968 and 1972 OG (gold medal).
(-60 Kg) For his second combat, Reinaldo Valiente loses by 5-0 points, against Ace Rusevski/YU, future bronze medal. Valiente disappears from the Olympic team.
(-67 Kg) For his second fight, Emilio Correa loses RSC 3rd, vs Pedro Gamarro/Venezuela, future silver medal. Emilio Correa won a gold medal at the 1972 OG and 1974 WC. He will participate in the 1978 WC.
Clinton Jackson/USA, a former silver medalist in the 1974 WC and Mike McCallum/Jamaica, future world champion in pro boxing, are eliminated in the quarter-finals.
The gold medalists are :
(-48 Kg): Jorge Hernandez beats Li Byong Uk/North Korea in the finals, on points 4-1. Jorge Hernandez was gold medal at the 1974 WM. Jorge Hernandez will be at the 1978 WC and 1980 OG.
(81 kg). Teofilo Stevenson wins the gold medal, as mentioned in the article devoted to him in this blog. He beats John Tate/USA in the semi-finals, before the limit. A clip of a preliminary fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtm9Ytmc4kM.
The silver medalists are :
(-51 Kg) Ramon Duvalon loses in the finals vs Leo Randolph/USA, on points 3-2. He disappears from the Olympic team.
(-63.5 Kg) Andres Aldama loses in the finals against Ray Leonard/USA, on points 5-0. Aldama wins his first 4 fights before the limit, for example vs Vladimir Kolev/Bulgaria by ko in the 1st during the semi-finals. Aldama will be in the 1978 WM and 1980 OG. Ray Leonard will become a multiple World Pro Champion. Excerpt from the fight : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpUUMugmZ4s
(-71 Kg) Rolando Garbey loses on points 4-1, vs Tadija Kacar/YU (future silver medalist) and brother of Slobodan Kacar, himself a future Olympic gold medalist and World Champion. Rolando Garbey participated in the 1968 (silver medal) and 1972 OG. He was gold medal at the 1974 WC.
(-75 Kg) Luis Felipe Martinez loses on points 3-2 vs Rufat Riskiyev/USSR in the semi finals. Luis Felipe Martinez disappears from the Cuban Olympic team. He will be at the 1978 WM.
Rufat Riskiyev, World Champion in 1974, loses vs Michael Spinks/USA in the finals, by RSC 3. Michael Spinks will become World Pro Champion, for the light-heavyweights and heavyweights.
In the first round, Luis Felipe Martinez def Fulgencio Obelmeijias/Venezuela, by 5-0. Obelmeijias will challenge Marvin Hagler for the Middleweights Pro Title. In the quarter-finals, Luis Felipe Martinez def Dragomir Vujkovic/YU, future silver medalist in the 1978 WC.
Comparison with other teams :
The U.S. team wins 5 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals, 7 medals in total. Cuba is second with 3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals, with 8 medals in total, but with less gold medals than the USA. Russia finishes with 1 silver and 3 bronze medals, behind East Germany and North Korea.
Record of the Cuban medals
It should be noted the exceptional result of the USA in this tournament, a team with many future professional boxing stars, but with less experience than the Cubans, who have sometimes already participated in two Olympiads.
The U.S. domination is clear in direct confrontation. The USA win 3 fights to 2 vs Cuba. Cuba wins 1 fight against the USSR and loses 1.
The Cubans have 34 fights and lose 8 times, a victories ratio of 81%, very close to that obtained in Munich (77.5 %) and La Havana (84%).
After the Olympic Games :
7th Central American and Caribbean Championships, Kingston/Jamaica. Cuba wins 6 gold medals and 1 silver, without the Olympics medalists.