Published: Thursday, 16th August, 2012 6:59pm
Westmeath boxer John Joe Nevin displays his Olympic silver medal alongside Ballymore native Joseph Murphy - an equestrian competitor in the Olympics - Westmeath GAA secretary Pat Lynagh (left) and county board chairman Tom Farrell following the homecoming event at Cusack Park on Monday night.
Westmeath's Olympic silver medal hero John Joe Nevin has given the strongest hint yet that we could turn professional in the not too distant future.
According to reports in the national media, the silver medalist has received offers from some of the biggest promoters in English boxing including Ricky Hatton, Barry Hearn and Ireland's own Barry McGuigan.
Speaking in the bowels of Cusack Park - where a memorable homecoming event took place - on Monday evening, John Joe admitted that while he had received a number of offers, he wanted to take a well earned break before he starts thinking about his post Olympics boxing career.
"I am going to take three weeks off and then I am going to sit down with my coach and see where I am going to go from there.
"I have had offers. I will sit down with the boys in a few weeks and talk about. We won't rush into anything."
John Joe will be 27 and entering his peak years when the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio come around and while he refused to rule going for gold in Brazil, he hinted that they potential financial rewards of a successful professional career may be hard to resist.
"You need a big sponsor to keep you going as well. It's not just the money you get from the Sports Council; you need a big sponsorship for the four years because you are not going to be bringing in money.
"I have to think about my career after boxing as well. It's not just about boxing. I want to be able to enjoy my life when I finish boxing."
To whet the appetite of John Joe's supporters as to what lies in store for the Mullingar pugilist, one of the mentors who brought him to where he is today - Cavan Boxing Club's Brian McKeown - told the crowd at Cusack Park on Monday that if his pupil goes pro, a hometown bout in Westmeath's GAA headquarters could be on the cards at some point. "If, and that's a very big if, the decision is made to take the vest off and fight the other way, we will ensure that written into his contract is that next summer, he will fight here on this football pitch," he said.
For the thousands who want to see more of John Joe, be it in the pro or amateur ranks, it was music to their ears.
Nevin admits that he is still coming to terms to life as an Olympic silver medalist.
John Joe and his fellow Westmeath Olympian Joseph Murphy from Killare, Ballymore, were given a hero's welcome from the the thousands of people that lined the streets of the town and packed into Cusack Park.
Nevin said that he was bowled over by the support that he has received from the people of Westmeath both during and after the Olympics.
"It's a dream come true for me and it hasn't really sunk in yet. The crowd is fantastic. You wouldn't see that in an All-Ireland hurling final."
A feature of John Joe's Olympic journey was the maturity that he displayed both in and out of the ring. London was his second successive Olympics and the 23-year-old bantamweight says that he was eager to make the most of it.
"I wanted to enjoy this Olympics. I was 19 at the last one and I put a bit of pressure on myself but no matter what, this time I said I was going to enjoy myself. That was why I came into the ring with a smile in my face."
Although he impressed throughout the tournament, the young bantamweight revealed that his semi-final victory of the Cuban world champion Alvarez was his personal highlight of the tournament.
"It is my best ever performance. Beating a world champion and beating him handy. Even throwing the Mullingar Shuffle along with it. I was delighted with the performance," he added.