THE Amateur Boxing Alliances of the Philippines has been informed that Manny Pacquiao has decided to pass up on the chance to go for gold in the Rio Olympic Games to focus on 'legislative work,' Abap executive director Ed Picson said on Thursday night.
Picson said the Abap was informed by Pacquiao's media officer Aquiles Zonio that the newly elected senator has declined an offer to compete in qualifying for the Rio Games and pursue a chance to go for the Philippines' first Olympic gold medal.
"Just got word from Aquiles Zonio that MP (Pacquiao) has decided to 'prioritize his legislative duties,'" said Picson in a statement released to mediamen.
No less than world boxing governing body Aiba president Wu Ching-kuo had led the move to open the Olympic doors to professional boxers and had in fact extended an invitation to Pacquiao to don the national colors.
The eight-division world champion initially expressed interest in going for gold but, after getting elected to the Senate by placing seventh in the May elections with more than 16 million votes, said he will listen to the opinion of his countrtymen on whether they want him to compete in Rio or focus on his work as senator.
"He was interested and he was very much looking forward to it kasi sabi nga ni Manny, gusto rin nyang manalo ng Olympic medal kasi wala siya nun eh. Yun na lang ang kulang sa kanya," he said.
"Though he is not saying na sure victory ito for Manny, atleast we wanted to give him the chance to represent the country in the Olympics, actually 2012 pa lang inaaya na siya ng Aiba to play kaya lang di kaya ng schedule nya that time," added Picson.
The Abap had given Pacquiao until Friday to decide, which was also the deadline for submission of entry to the Aiba Open-Olympic qualifying boxing event in Baku, Azerbaijan next month.
On Thursday, the Abap got its answer.
"Abap respects Sen. Manny's decision and wishes him well in his work in the Senate. He wil be most welcome to come to Rio to cheer our athletes on as (Abap) president Ricky Vargas said," Picson declared.
With Pacquiao out, the Philippine boxing team will now pin its medal hopes on light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Saurez.