THE Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (Abap) hopes to get an answer from Manny Pacquiao if he is indeed interested to see action in the 2016 Rio Olympics after he faces Timothy Bradley on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).
Abap executive director Ed Picson said Aiba has reiterated its invitation to Pacquiao to fight in the Olympics during the recent Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament in China.
“After the fight (against Bradley), we’ll see if he can make a decision soon after,” Picson said.
Aiba is determined to allow professional boxers to compete Rio this August, with no less than its president Dr. Wu Ching-kuo saying it's high time boxing follows other high-profile sports like basketball and tennis in lifting the ban on pro athletes in the Olympics.
Picson said Aiba is only waiting for a response from Pacquiao as well as an endorsement from the local boxing federation that will open the possibility for the Filipino boxing superstar to compete in the Olympics.
“Ang sabi ng Aiba, kung inendorse ng Abap, then Aiba will accept. Basta kailangan lang may endorsement ng NSA,” said Picson.
Asked about a possible a possible Rio stint in the days leading to the Bradley fight, Pacquiao said it's high time pro boxers are allowed to compete in the Olympics but remained non-committal on his own participation.
"I have to think about it," he said.
Picson admitted it is still not yet clear whether Pacquiao will still have to go through the qualifying tournaments. Boxing’s last qualifying tournament will be in July with the Aiba World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.
“That depends (if he has to go through the qualifiers),” Picson said. “Tinanong ko kay Dr. Wu kung ano ‘yung proseso, sabi ko kasi baka ma-turn off kung dumaan sa qualifying or kung just in case ayaw niya dumaan sa qualifying, kung puwede ba automatic (berth in the Olympics). Sabi sa akin ni Dr. Wu, ‘Tell him to decide first, then we’ll talk.’”
“Sabi niya, ‘Ask him if he is interested. If he is interested, we’ll see what we can do,’” Picson said, quoting Wu.
Picson, however, is confident Pacquiao will not find it difficult to go through the Olympic qualifiers
“If he needs to qualify, hindi naman mahirap ‘yun para kay Manny. Tatlong round lang ‘yan although ilang araw. Baka tatlo or apat na panalo, pasok na siya,” Picson said.