LAS VEGAS – He looms as the country’s biggest bet for a first ever gold medal should professional fighters be allowed to compete in the Olympics.
And to think Manny Pacquiao was once rebuffed from the national team for not ‘being good enough.’
“Hindi ako magaling kaya di ako nakuha,” recalled Pacquiao with a smile, recalling the time he tried his luck to become a member of the Philippine team while still a struggling amateur in his teens.
He related how he used to hang around the Rizal Memorial Complex where the office of then Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (now the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) was based.
“Ang daming boxers e. Politics din dun so hindi ako nakuha,” Pacquiao said.
But now with Aiba racing against the clock for the inclusion of pro boxers in the Olympics in time for the Rio Games this August, Abap is reaching out to have Pacquiao serve as the face of the national team.
The newly-retired Pacquiao said he’ll seriously think about the offer.
The country’s national boxing association has reportedly allotted a slot for the 37-year-old southpaw at a higher weight class should Aiba’s ambitious plan be finally realized in time for the Rio Olympics.
“Depende. Pag isipan ko 'yan,” Pacquiao said.
But he’s definitely in favor of having pro boxers competing against the amateurs in the Olympics, much like in basketball, soccer, tennis and other high-profile sports.
“Yan ay kung i-allow nila na puwedeng lumaban yung mga professional boxers sa Olympics maganda rin yun,” he said. ‘Yung ibang mga sports 'yung professional allowed e.
“So pag –isipan natin yan.”