MANILA, Philippines-Manny Pacquiao has a huge trophy room filled with championship belts, medals and an assortment of boxing accolades in a career masterpiece spanning over three decades.
But if you look closely at the considerable stockpile of awards that the Filipino boxing icon had collected, one prominent piece of hardware most fighters dream about remains missing.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Wednesday that the former senator and eight-division world champion reached out and expressed interest for a shot at an Olympic medal in next year’s Paris Olympics.
“Senator Pacquiao’s camp reached out saying our Filipino ring idol wants to fight in Paris,” said Tolentino.
“But the Senator can no longer vie for qualification in the Asian Games in Hangzhou next month,” he added.
According to Tolentino, the local Olympic body has opened discussions with the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines and the International Olympic Committee on how to deal with Pacquiao’s request.
The IOC will supervise the boxing competitions in Paris following the suspension of the International Boxing Association.
The easiest path to the Olympics is through the Asian Games, but the continental meet has an age restriction of 40 years old across all sports, said Tolentino.
Still, the door remains ajar for the 44-year-old boxing legend with two Olympic qualifying tournaments scheduled early next year.
Another course of action is to help Pacquiao secure an Olympic spot under the Universality rule from the IOC. Only nine Universality places—five for women and four for men—are available in Paris.
Tolentino said Pacquiao’s aide approached the POC confirming that Pacquiao is open to the possibility of climbing onto the Olympic ring.
Tolentino added the Abap, through its chairman Ricky Vargas, can accommodate Pacquiao, who currently weighs 66 kilograms, to the national team and guide him in the qualification process.
Pacquiao can pick between 63.50kgs or 71kgs on the Paris boxing program where professional fighters are allowed to see action.
In the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, 43 of the 186 boxers were prizefighters, including Eumir Felix Marcial, who claimed the middleweight bronze medal.
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