Prospect of Rio Olympics fight is a rallying point for Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao has received an invitation from boxing's top brass to compete at this year's Olympics, but pro boxers are still awaiting clearance.
Manny Pacquiao has received an invitation from boxing's top brass to compete at this year's Olympics, but pro boxers are still awaiting clearance.

MANILA • Manny Pacquiao said yesterday that it would be an honour to fight for the Philippines at this year's Rio Olympics, where professional boxers may be allowed to compete for the first time.

The eight-time world champion said he had been "personally invited" to the Rio de Janeiro Games by Wu Ching-kuo, president of the International Boxing Association (Aiba) - the governing body for amateur boxing.

"If I would be asked to represent boxing, why not? I would do everything for my country," Pacquiao said in a statement.

The 37-year-old is currently training for what he said would be his last professional fight, an April 9 Las Vegas rematch with American Timothy Bradley.

Wu said in Switzerland on Monday that the Aiba would vote within three months on proposals that would allow all professional fighters to compete in the Olympics, including in Rio.

Qualifying for the Rio Games, that begin on Aug 5, is already under way, but Wu noted that there were still opportunities for professionals to qualify.

Pacquiao has posted a 57-6-2 win-loss-draw record in a glittering 21-year professional career that began in 1995. He never competed in the Olympics but was his country's flag-bearer in the 2008 Games.

Earlier this week, retired boxer Floyd Mayweather said he had no intention of making a return to the ring at the Olympics.

The American, who won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games as an amateur, retired undefeated last September.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Prospect of Rio Olympics fight is a rallying point for Pacquiao'. Print Edition | Subscribe