MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco is almost 100 percent sure that newly proclaimed Sen. Manny Pacquiao can win the gold medal if he competes in the Rio Olympics in August.
“Kaya niya eh (He can do it),” said Cojuangco.
The International Boxing Federation (AIBA) has opened the doors to professional boxers in the Olympics, and it’s just a matter of formality before they are given berths to the Rio Games.
Pacquiao said many times he’s interested in representing the Philippines in this year’s Olympics even if he has announced his retirement from pro boxing.
“If it’s for the honor of our country, why not?” he said.
Cojuangco was asked yesterday on his thoughts about the 37-year-old Pacquiao, one of the great boxers of this generation, seeing action in the Olympics.
“It’s up to him,” said the POC president.
But he has some reservations.
“Ang mangyayari diyan ganito (This is what’s going to happen),” he said.
“He (Pacquiao) will win the gold at 140 (pounds). Pero pag nanalo ba si Pacquiao (And if he does) will people consider it an Olympic gold?” he said.
Cojuangco cited the victory of Filipino archer Luis Gabriel Moreno in the 2014 Youth Olympics in China, a feat that did not merit the attention it deserves.
“Nobody even talks about it. Everybody’s saying we haven’t won an Olympic gold medal but we did,” said Cojuangco.
Others may brand it as an overkill for the Philippines to call in one of the most feared boxers in the planet in its bid to win its first gold medal in the Summer Olympics.
Pacquiao will stand in front of some young boxers,young enough to be his son, amateurs who don’t box for a living, and for three rounds try to knock their heads off.
That’s unless the other countries will decide to bring in professional boxers themselves, like former light-welterweight champion Amir Khan of Britain.
Khan saw action in the 2004 Athens Olympics and won the silver medal in the lightweight class. He was only 17 when he saw action in Athens.
There’s a long list of professional boxers who went through the Olympics – from Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) to George Foreman and Joe Frazier to Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar dela Hoya to Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Guillermo Rigondeaux and Gennady Golovkin.
The closest Pacquiao came to stepping inside an Olympic ring was when he carried the Philippine flag in the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Pacquiao said he dreamed of being an Olympian but was forced out of the Philippine national team due to “politics” in sports.
The eight-division boxing champion from Sarangani just won a seat in the Senate during the May 9 elections, and is taking some time to decide whether he’s in or out of the Rio Olympics.
Freddie Roach also said he’s willing to train Pacquiao for the Olympics. He said Pacquiao told him he doesn’t have to because “there’s no money” in the Olympics.
“I don’t care about the money,” Roach told Pacquiao.
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines has reserved a slot for Pacquiao in the light-welterweight class (140 pounds).
Ed Picson, ABAP executive director, said the door is still open.
“We’re not hoping. We’re waiting,” he said.[Philstar.com]