PH golden dream fades as Pacquiao rules out Rio

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Boxing legend Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Friday said he would skip the Rio Olympics even if professionals were allowed to compete, knocking out the Philippines’ best chance of winning its first gold medal.

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Pacquiao, who was this month elected to the Philippine Senate and harbors dreams of becoming the country’s President, explained that he wanted to instead focus on his political career.

“I have decided to prioritize my legislative duty as I owe it to the people who voted for me,” the eight-time world champion and national hero said in a text message to Agence France-Presse.

Pacquiao, 37, had previously said his victory over American Timothy Bradley last month would be the final fight of his career so he could pursue his political ambitions.

But he never fully closed the door on his boxing career, saying he could be tempted out of retirement for a chance at Olympic glory in August or another mega-bucks fight against arch-rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.

In a highly controversial move, the International Boxing Association proposed a few months ago allowing professional boxers to compete at the Rio Games, and will put it to a vote at its congress in Lausanne next week.

Pacquiao’s American promoter, Bob Arum, was among the many critics of the plan, saying putting amateurs into the ring against seasoned professionals would be “total madness.”

But in anticipation of a successful vote, the International Boxing Association had already invited the international ring icon.

Pacquiao did not wade into the controversy on Friday, saying only he wanted to be prepared for his new job as a senator starting on June 30.

“So I believe I don’t have enough time to prepare [for the Olympics],” he said.

The Philippines is an Olympic minnow, having only won nine bronze and silver medals since debuting at the 1924 Paris Games.
Five of those medals were in boxing.

Pacquiao has never competed in the Olympics, although he was the country’s flag-bearer at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Pacquiao had told sporting officials he hoped to compete in Rio as a way of giving back to the Philippines, Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson told AFP.

He, however, may have been concerned about criticism over his poor attendance record in Congress, according to Picson.

Pacquiao served two three-year stints as a congressman from 2010 but barely turned up at sessions of the House of Representatives as he pursued his boxing career.

“I expected he might have second thoughts because he received brickbats about being absent in Congress and that’s a fresh wound. It was used against him during the campaign and he’s probably still smarting about it,” Picson said.

Just 11 Filipino athletes have so far qualified for Rio, two of whom are boxers.

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1 Comment

  1. Please dont tell me you would be happy with a gold medal won by Manny if he had fought. The olympics are about amateurs, not professionals & certainly not about one of the best ever fighters in the world. I wonder what you would say if floyd mayweather announced he was unretiring but returning as an amateur just to win a gold medal. It would be a joke & laughable & most boxing fans would hate that thought. Just sit back & reflect on this, manny & floyd have been in boxing for 20 years or so or even a little longer & have for many of those years been training to fight 12 rounds. Now they only have to fight 3 rounds, now i hope you can see that & like me think allowing professional fighters to fight as amateurs. When i was an amateur boxer in my 2nd fight without any formal training i had to fight an ex navy champion who un retired & he stopped me in the 1st round. It was an unfair fight that should never have been allowed & this with the likes of manny or floyd is 100 times worse.