Manny Pacquiao faces a fight to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games as a result of the former eight-division champion’s age.
The 44-year-old walked away from the sport of professional boxing following his loss to Yordenis Ugas. Thereafter, Pacquiao had been linked with a return to professional boxing, only to opt for having exhibitions instead. However, Pacman did express his desire to compete at the Olympics and win an Olympic gold after having failed to do so during his younger years due to the impoverished background he had come from.
And yet, according to the Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino, any boxers who want to compete must be aged between 19 to 40. Although an exemption could be granted by using a ‘universality blueprint,’ this would require the Philippine Olympic Committee to request that the IOC allow Pacman to box. As of now, the IOC does provide nine of these, four of which must be men.
Marcus Manalo, who happens to be the General Secretary of the Philippines Association of Boxing Alliances, was optimistic that a deal could be reached. And by the looks of it, steps have already taken place to make it happen. The Philippine Olympic Committee has stated that Pacman would be competing as an amateur. As such, Tolentino is looking to enforce the ‘university rule’ to make it happen.
“In boxing, it is explicitly stated that the purpose of universality places is for those countries that have a hard time or don’t typically qualify through the qualifying tournaments. But obviously, who doesn’t want Manny Pacquiao in their Olympic lineup? Obviously, he’s an absolute legend. But there are rules in place that we have to consider also.
“In the recent past, it has always been 19 to 40. Pacquiao is 44. So, it is a big stretch. But maybe we can challenge the age limit because we can assume that the purpose is to protect the boxers and their welfare. But I don’t know because if you’re IOC, if you’re going to make changes, you implement those changes in the next Olympic cycle. It’s all up in the air. But we’re hopeful about the appeal for a universality place because it would be extremely beneficial for us if it gets approved. We’re hopeful, but again, we must manage expectations,” Manalo
Social Media Response
If anybody can do it, Pacman can
— Liam Freeman (@LiquidatorPod) October 9, 2023
— Chris Castro (@chriscastro21) October 9, 2023
So he wants to steal a place from a young prospect. Shame on him
— Noel Gilronan (@TheMrG1961) October 9, 2023