Top Rank Promotion boss Bob Arum said that he is pleased with the decision of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao not to represent the Philippines in the Rio Olympics in August. On Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland, 88 members of the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted in favor of allowing professional boxers to compete in the Olympics, while none voted against and four abstained.
“Manny [Pacquiao] has his own mind and I let him decide. We didn’t talk about the Olympics just yet but I’m really happy to learn that he already begged off. It is a very wise decision by Manny,” Arum told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“I’m also hoping other professional boxers will do the same thing. It is not appropriate for professional boxers to fight against amateurs, and Manny knows it. Every promoter not only us, like Golden Boy Promotion or the Mayweather promotion, also understand professional boxing.”
“That’s why I’m confident they will not allow their boxers to fight in the Olympics. These people know boxing. The danger and the risk are there. I’m hoping AIBA will just focus on developing the amateur,” Arum added.
Pacquiao, 37, who retired with a 58-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts last April following his unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley, had already announced his decision not to join the Rio Olympics prior to the May 27 deadline set by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP).
Pacquiao said that he just want to focus on his job as a full time senator of the Philippines.
Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-Ani agrees with Arum’s opposition to pro boxers competing in the Olympics. Gello-Ani has seven professional boxers in his stable including newly crowned International Boxing Federation world flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero.
“Yes, it is not really appropriate for Manny to fight there. Everybody is expecting him to dominate the Olympics, so how about unfortunately if he loses? It will be a total embarrassment,” explained Gello-Ani. “I’m against it [professional boxers fighting amateurs in the Olympics].”
“Remember professional and amateur boxing are two different things. You only fight three rounds in amateur and there’s rarely a knockout. At the same time, you’ll be fighting everyday as long as you’re winning. The weigh-in is different too.”
“In professional, you go to weigh-in only once before the fight night. In amateur, you are required to undergo weigh in every fight. It is also risky for young amateur to go up and fight professional boxers. The danger is there.”
Gello-Ani said he hasn’t discussed the issue with fellow promoters. “Our boxers will not fight there, maybe in next Olympics. But in this year’s Olympics, no. It is not a major attraction among us also. Boxing is a different sport compared to tennis and basketball.”
Meanwhile, ABAP national team consultant Nonito “Dodong” Donaire Sr. told The Times that ABAP is not bringing any Filipino professional boxer in the Rio Olympics scheduled August 5 to 21.
“So far, there’s no professional Filipino boxer in Rio for the meantime. At the same time, the May 27 deadline for professional boxers to decide has already lapsed,” said Donaire, which is also the father and trainer of reigning World Boxing Organization world super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr.