IT’S 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics or bust for Manny Pacquiao.
Philippine amateur boxing officials are hoping that Pacquiao will be interested to compete in the Olympics following an offer by Aiba president Wu Ching-Kuo, strengthening the country’s chances of winning the elusive gold medal.
Time, however, is running out as the Olympics is set in August and there are still no clear-cut rules on whether the pros would still go through qualifying.
A member of the powerful International Olympic Committee (IOC) also said it will be difficult for boxing to include professionals in the Olympics, while adding that an age limit for boxers could prevent Pacquiao from competing in the quadrennial games after Rio.
Even if the rules are changed come 2020 to accommodate professional boxers in Tokyo, Frank Elizalde, IOC’s representative to the Philippines, noted Pacquiao’s age could be the biggest hindrance to Pacquiao's chance ar competing in the Olympics.
Elizalde bared that Olympics boxing has an age limit of 40 years old. By 2020, Pacquiao will be 41.
"Another problem for Manny is this (Rio) is going to be it. I can see them changing the rules for the Tokyo Olympics but he will be ineligible because apparently, there is an age limit of 40 and he would have reached 40 for the Tokyo games," said Elizalde.
Elizalde, however, understands why Aiba wants pro boxers to compete in the Olympics due to the numerous boxing groups muddling up the pro game.
"I guess the president of Aiba loves the idea because of the alphabet soup of pro groups that it is ridiculous nowadays. Pro boxing is a joke as far as the championship and all that," said Elizalde.
But while he is not against professionals in the Olympics, Elizalde expressed concern for the amateur boxers if pro boxers like Pacquiao are suddenly allowed to compete in Rio.
"The way I see it, I’m not against professionals participating in the Olympics because almost all sports are already doing it. But this is like changing the rules in the middle of the game," said Elizalde.
Elizalde feels for the amateur boxers, if the pros are included, because they spent so many years of training just to make it to the Olympics.
"How are you going to get these professionals into the Olympics when there is this poor guy trying to qualify by participating in several tournaments? All of a sudden, you have a pro world champion here entering the Olympics like he was going to a party or something. Give me a break," he added.