Pacquiao declines Olympic spot to focus on Senate duties
Manny Pacquiao has decided to remain retired and will not be competing at the 2016 Olympics.
The 37-year-old boxer declined an invitation for a wild card entry from AIBA and will instead focus on his duties in the Philippine Senate. Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 knockouts) had announced his retirement following his decision victory over Tim Bradley in April but remained non-committal about the offer to fight at Rio, which will be the first Olympiad where pro boxers are eligible.
Pacquiao, who had previously served two terms as a congressman, was one of 12 senators proclaimed last week for a 6-year term.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) Executive Director Ed Picson tells RingTV.com that he was informed by a Pacquiao representative that he has decided to “prioritize his legislative duties.”
“ABAP respects Sen. Manny’s decision and wishes him well in his work in the senate,” Picson said in a text message.
Pacquiao had been asked by ABAP to inform them of his decision by Friday, May 27, which was the deadline to submit names for the Final Olympic Qualifiers, which begin June 11 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Pacquiao will not be eligible for the 2020 Olympics as he’d be past the 40-year age limit by the time the Tokyo Games take place.
The Philippines has already qualified two fighters for the Olympics — light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez — and will send three more to the Final Olympic Qualifiers — flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, bantamweight Mario Fernandez and welterweight Eumir Marcial.
Each boxer who makes the semifinals will be qualified along with the quarterfinalist who loses to the eventual gold medalist.
The Philippines has never won an Olympic gold medal but boxing has been its strongest event, where the country has won 5 of its 9 medals. The Philippines’ last Olympic medal came in 1996, when Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco took light flyweight silver in 1996.