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Pacquiao declines Rio slot, focuses on Senate

By: - Editor / @RLuarcaINQ
09:33 PM May 27, 2016
Manny Pacquiao during the post-fight press conference of Pacquiao-Bradley 3 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Pacquiao beat Timothy Bradley via unanimous decision. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

Manny Pacquiao during the post-fight press conference of Pacquiao-Bradley 3 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Pacquiao beat Timothy Bradley via unanimous decision. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao Friday said he would skip the Rio Olympics even if professionals were allowed to compete, knocking out the Philippines best chance of winning its first gold medal.

The newly elected senator said he would focus on his legislative duties instead.

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“I have decided to prioritize my legislative duty as I owe it to the people who voted for me,” said
Pacquiao.

Offered an Olympic slot in the welterweight division by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, Pacquiao made the decision to stay retired late Thursday at his mansion in General Santos City.

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Pacquiao announced his decision hours before the May 27 deadline set by the Abap.

“I believe I don’t have enough time to prepare [for the Olympics],” Pacquiao said.

According to Pacquiao’s media officer, Aquiles Zonio, the senator consulted friends, advisers and sports leaders in arriving at his decision.

The Senate opens in July, a few weeks before the start of the Summer Games.

The Abap, headed by Ricky Vargas, earlier issued a statement that it would support whatever Pacquiao’s decision would be.

Regardless of Pacquiao’s decision, the Abap also invited him to watch the Games in support of the national athletes, particularly boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, who qualified in the light flyweight and lightweight division, respectively.

The boxers are deemed to have the brightest chances to end the Philippines’ gold medal drought in the Olympics.

Light flyweight Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco gave the country’s its last medal in the Olympics, winning a silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games. With a report from AFP

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TAGS: Manny Pacquiao, Rio Olympics, Senate, Sports
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