“He’s concerned with what the people will say,” said Picson. Picson said there are two ways Pacquiao could get to Rio: through a wildcard invitation to be issued by the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) and via an Olympic qualifying event. “We’ll find out once Manny decides,” Picson said.
Pacquiao was a personal guest of AIBA president Dr. Wu Ching-kuo during the World Championship in Doja, Qatar last October, and it was there that the offer to fight in the Olympics was reportedly relayed, an idea that apparently appealed to Pacquiao.
Pacquiao’s recent rematch with Timothy Bradley and the rigorous national campaign that followed left Pacquiao with no time to weigh the proposal, however – until now. In recent TV interviews after his official proclamation, Pacquiao said he was giving the matter serious thought.
“Sa Olympics, pinagiisipan nating mabuti ‘yan. Gusto ko ngang tanungin ang sambayanan Pilipino kung papayag sila, kasi August ang Olympics e tapos mag-iistart na ang trabaho ko,” he said. “Baka sabihin na naman kasi, umpisa pa lang ng trabaho tapos absent na naman ako.”
Pacquiao also gave this assurance: “Pero ito talaga pag ginawa ko para sa bayan lang. Walang pera-pera ito. Iaalay ko ito bilang pasasalamat sa bansa” Pacquiao has an impressive professional boxing career, becoming the only boxer to win eight titles in eight different weight divisions.
The Philippines has yet to win its first ever Olympic gold medal and boxing is one of the sports that have a good chance to end quest for Olympic gold.
The country’s highest achievements in Olympics were two silver medals courtesy of two boxers – Anthony Villanueva in 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Games. (PNA/Jelly F. Musico)