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Boxing legend Pacquiao almost joined the Olympics



Still high on the four Olympic medals won by Filipino athletes—weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, and boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam (both silver) and Carlo Paalam (bronze)—sports fans are excited for the next big event: Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas on 21 August.

But did you know that the Pambansang Kamao could have been an Olympian, too? It was at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, when the boxing legend was invited as a wildcard to compete in the premier international sports event.

For the first time, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) raised the age limit from 34 to 40 years old and allowed the participation of professional boxers. It might have been the biggest opportunity for the Philippines to clinch its first Olympic gold medal since Pacquiao was within the age range of 36 years old and more than qualified to compete.

However, he had decided at the time to run for Senator and won.

“I’ve committed to my family that after this fight I will spend more time with them and focus to serve the people of the Philippines,” he said after his fight with Timothy Bradley in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Would the country have won its first gold in the Olympics if Pacquiao joined its boxing contingent?

His world-class skills made him the only boxer in the world to hold 12 major titles in eight different weight divisions. He currently has 62 wins, 7 losses and 2 draws.

Pacquiao was scheduled to square off  with Errol Spence Jr. on 22 August However, Spence was forced to withdraw after a checkup revealed he had a detached retina.

Yordenis Ugás, a Cuban with 26 wins and four losses, will take Spence’s place.