Manny Pacquiao to the Olympics?: Philippines are working on a real boxing hammer

Manny Pacquiao to the Olympics?
Philippines are working on real boxing hammer

Is Filipino folk hero Manny Pacquiao making a surprise comeback on the big stage? The boxing idol, who has long since retired, is apparently toying with competing at the Olympic Games in Paris. However, there are hurdles.

Manny Pacquiao at the Paris Olympics? If the National Olympic Committee of the Philippines has its way, the former boxing superstar should actually compete in next year’s Summer Games. As NOC President Abraham Tolentino told the French news agency AFP, he turned to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with this concern two weeks ago. Accordingly, Pacquiao, who resigned in 2021 and is now 44 years old, should receive a so-called “Universality Place”.

Those starting places are reserved for athletes from countries that have problems qualifying for the Games through normal channels. However, the IOC would have to make an exception for the former world champion, who was crowned champion in eight weight classes. The age limit in boxing is 40 years. “He is physically fit, better than other athletes,” said Tolentino, who called Pacquiao an “icon of boxing” who could help the sport’s image.

“Goodbye, boxing”

In 2015, Pacquiao took part in one of the most highly regarded fights in boxing history: Pacquaio is said to have collected more than $100 million for the duel against superstar Floyd Mayweather, which was promoted as the “fight of the century”. At that time he clearly lost in a fight between probably the best boxers of their generation.

Pacquiao originally announced his departure from boxing in September 2021 to devote himself to his political career. He was previously appointed as the new leader of President Duterte’s PDP-Laban party. “It’s difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I announce my retirement,” said the Filipino folk hero in a video message to his fans at the time. “I never thought this day would come,” added the former boxing world champion in eight different weight classes. “Goodbye, boxing.”

Recently, however, Pacquiao emphasized in an interview with AFP that taking part in Paris would give him the chance to realize his lifelong dream of Olympic gold. He himself, who has never competed in the Olympic Games, feels as if he were “30 or 28 years old.” In boxing, the IOC awards nine “Universality Places”, five for women and four for men. The starting places should be confirmed on June 7th next year. The games take place from July 26th to August 11th, 2024.

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