If it were up to him, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao would come out from his scheduled retirement this April for the chance to bag the country’s first ever gold medal in the Rio Olympics later this year.
“If I would be asked to represent boxing, why not? I would do everything for my country. It would be my honor,” he told Agence France Press.
The 37-year-old boxing superstar is aging fast but arguably remains to be the country’s best shot at ending its quest for its first gold medal in the Olympics. The Philippines began competing in the quadrennial event in 1924.
Bagging the country's first gold would be a fitting end to for Pacman’s illustrious career, which includes three Fighter of the Year awards, a Fighter of the Decade citation (2000s), and an unprecedented 10 world titles in eight weight divisions.
The opportunity to compete in Rio came after International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Wu Ching-Kuo reportedly invited Pacquiao to the Olympics.
The AIBA pushed for changes in the governing body's regulations to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics, which is currently only open to amateur fighters. The AIBA board will convene in May, and is expected to vote whether to approve or reject the proposal.
Prior to this, Pacquiao’s closest brush with the Olympics was back in 2008 when he acted as the country’s flag bearer.
He will be facing Timothy Bradley Jr. for the third time during his retirement bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 9.