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Pacquiao disappointed by Olympic rejection


PhilBoxing.com


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Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said the other day he was serious in making a bid to fight in the Paris Olympics at the age of 45 and expressed disappointment that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) denied his petition to participate in what would’ve been the fulfillment of a life-long dream.

Pacquiao said it’s always been a dream to represent his country in the Olympics and go for gold. Although he’s won world championships in eight divisions as a pro, Pacquiao said his Olympic dream never faded and remains elusive.

“Why not increase the age limit to 50?” said Pacquiao. The IOC age limit for boxing is 40 which was set in 2013 after raising it from 34. The IOC has allowed pros to fight in the Olympics since 2016 when three pros participated and none made it to the podium. In Paris, Filipino pro Eumir Marcial has qualified.

“It was confirmed by AFP that the Philippines had made a special request for Pacquiao to compete at the Games despite the IOC rules setting the age limit for boxers at 40,” wrote George Gigney in the London weekly publication Boxing News. “The IOC rejected the request. Yes, Pacquiao boxing at the Olympics would be newsworthy but other than that, there is not much benefit to it. He’s one of the most decorated professional fighters in history and arguably, the most famous Filipino ever.”

Writer Declan Taylor, also in Boxing News, said Pacquiao “probably owns the planet’s fastest 45-year-old hands and had hoped to make a fairytale return to the sport and clinch boxing gold for the Philippines.” Pacquiao could’ve been eligible to fight in Rio in 2016 but, according to Boxing News, “chose not to enter at a time when he was elected to be a senator.”

Pacquiao delivered an inspiring speech during the recent Pacquiao-Elorde Awards Night in Okada and called on all athletes to excel with discipline, hard work and dedication. He said in next year’s Awards Night, the plan is to make it a local version of the Grammys with recognition given to outstanding athletes from different sports, not only boxing. Pacquiao acknowledged the presence of sports legends in the audience and said he’ll be up to the challenge of playing chess, billiards and basketball. Grandmaster Eugene Torre, who received a citation, said he's faced Pacquiao and they’ve battled on even terms. “Atacador si Manny kaya palagi ako nasa defensive,” said the World Chess Hall of Famer.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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