MANILA -- If not for his political commitments, Manny Pacquiao could have competed in the Olympic Games back in 2016.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson revealed that the Filipino boxing star seriously contemplated competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics after the world's boxing governing body opened the amateur competition to professional boxers.
“The president of AIBA then, si Dr. Wu [Ching-kuo], asked ABAP to extend to Manny Pacquiao the invitation,” Picson told ABS-CBN Sports.
“Ang problema lang, in 2016, he won as senator. Eh the Olympics, which was in July, coincided with the opening of the session of the senate.”
Picson also said that the Filipino champion even attended the 2016 World Championships just to check out the field despite his busy schedule.
Picson added that Pacquiao was serious about giving the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal.
“He came. He was only there for 15 hours, walang tulugan. Galing Manila, he flew to Dubai, and from Dubai to Doha, stayed there for maybe 13 hours, then left again, back for Manila,” Picson narrated.
“That’s how serious he was, he met with the president of AIBA and all the other AIBA officials there, and he was entertaining thoughts of fighting for the country in the Rio Olympics."
But since he just won a seat in the senate, Pacquiao was serious about his promise to be more active in his legislative duties after drawing flak for his absences when he was a congressman.
“Ang sabi sa akin ni Senator Pacquiao, ‘Ed, kung mag-a-absent ako sa unang session, mayayari na naman ako.’ Kasi di ba that was the criticism against him in Congress? Sabi niya, ‘Unang-unang session ng senado, a-absent ako?’ So he had to beg off,” said Picson.
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