Gold is good but DeGale must shine against Dirrell

Gold is still good, trust me.

So far only three Olympic gold medal winners from Beijing have fought for the world title as professionals and all three lost.

Zou Shiming got his sums terribly wrong and dropped a decision for the IBF flyweight title in front of his beloved flock in Macau. Shiming was having his seventh fight and the loss was greeted by a stunned silence. It is crucial that he wins the belt in his very next fight back at his Macau home.

In 2013, Rakhim Chakhiev lost a hard fight for the WBC cruiserweight title when he was winning on points but stopped in the eighth round. Chakhiev was having his 17th fight and he is now unbeaten in five since the loss.

In early 2014, Vasyl Lomachenko dropped a shock points decision to Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title. Lomachenko was having just his second fight and in his very next fight he beat Gary Russell Jr to win the same title. Russell, incidentally, had been the gold medal favourite in Beijing but collapsed before the weigh-in.

Shiming and Chakhiev will get another chance or two and will probably win a world title. Next month James DeGale gets his first chance and he would become the first Beijing Olympic champion to win a world title at the first attempt if he beats Andre Dirrell; he would also become the first British gold medallist to win a world title.

This Saturday in Brooklyn, another golden boy from Beijing continues his frustrating ring education and he is way down the Andy Lee v Peter Quillin bill. Felix Diaz won gold for the Dominican Republic, had to fight off the promoters chasing him and now, seven years on, he remains unbeaten after 16 fights.

DeGale, we should remember, has lost one of his 21 fights and will have to go on the road to win a world title after his promoter, Eddie Hearn, was about $1 million short during the purse bids to win the right to stage the fight. DeGale was only the second British gold medal winner in 40 years and yet, here we are, seven years later, with him fighting for a world title in front of a few thousand people in Boston. He is, by the way, making about $1m for his troubles.

The gold medal, you see, is a glorious achievement, harder than ever to win, but it does not guarantee the man wearing it any success in the pro ranks. It can cause heads to swell, it can create a false sense of security and it can turn the wisest promoters into fools at the bargaining table. Lomachenko and Shiming both lost to men that they would have beaten had they fought two or three more times.

Diaz is now fighting in the shadow of a young American called Errol Spence Jr, a loser before the medal stages in London 2012, who is now unbeaten in 15 as a pro; on Saturday, Spence Jr is higher up the bill than Diaz. The pair are separated by a few pounds and I imagine that at some point in the next few months they will meet. Diaz, incidentally, has been given a stiff test on Saturday against local fighter Gabe Bracero and it seems that he is now at the stage where he will have to show the people that have invested in him that he can fight - nobody cares about his gold medal right now.