Manny Pacquiao’s political career received a boost Thursday as he earned a seat in the Philippines Senate, but Pac-Man may not be ready to put his old career behind him just yet.
After the 37-year-old eight-division world champion finished seventh among 12 newly elected senators with over 16 million votes, he expressed interest in representing the Philippines at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Associated Press: “I need to ask if the Filipino people will allow me to participate in the Olympics.”
Pacquiao retired from boxing following his unanimous-decision victory over Timothy Bradley in April 2016, but with professionals now being permitted to qualify for boxing in the Olympics, his hiatus from the ring could be brief.
Boxing trainer Freddie Roach added this, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com): “He asked me if I would train him if they let pros in the Olympics. I said of course I will.”
Pacquiao was the Philippines’ flag-bearer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics despite not being a participant, and he could be awarded that same honor in Rio should he decide to fight.
Boxing hasn’t been considered among the Olympics’ marquee events for some time, but steps have been made to change that, including eliminating headgear and transitioning to the professional style of scoring.
Allowing professionals to compete is another significant move, particularly if someone of Pacquiao’s pedigree is involved. Pac-Man is among the greatest fighters of his generation, and while he has political responsibilities, he also has the power to make Olympic boxing relevant.
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