ABAP to respect Pacquiao’s decision on Olympic stint
Whether Manny Pacquiao opts to come out of early retirement and suit up for the Philippine men’s national boxing team or not, the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) assured it won’t stand in the way of whatever the Filipino ring icon’s decision may be.
Pacquiao, who retired following his lopsided win over Timothy Bradley last month, only has several days left to ponder over his decision as the deadline for the submission of entries looms.
“Sen. Pacquiao has already given so much pride to the Filipino and our country,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas in a statement. “We, as a people, are grateful. Just his presence watching our boxers fight in the Rio Olympics is already a great honor and an inspiration to our boxers.”
“Not fighting in the Olympics will not tarnish in any way our respect and admiration for Sen. Pacquiao, although he is so much welcome, of course, if he decides to compete,” said Vargas. “We await his decision.”
If Pacquiao, the newly-elected senator, chooses to wear the Philippine colors, he can compete in the junior welterweight division but will have to go through the Olympic qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan first.
If he stays retired, Vargas said, the eight-division world champion will still be most welcome to as “prized guest” in the Rio Olympics this August.
“He is most welcome if he does decide,” said Vargas. “If not, we invite him to watch our boxers fight in Rio to inspire and cheer them on.”
Talks of the possibility of Pacquiao representing the country arose after AIBA president Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu invited the former welterweight champion to shoot for the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal during a visit in Doha for the World Championship last October.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao, who expressed interest, didn’t make any commitments with the May polls his top priority at that time. Speculations had died down before resurfacing after the elections.
“But it’s all up to Manny,” said Picson. “He has until Friday and then we’ll proceed from there.”
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