At the age of 44, Manny Pacquiao wants to end his boxing career on his terms, and that isn't in a world title fight, but rather a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The future hall-of-fame boxer, who is boxing's only eight-division world champion, has started the process to secure a spot in the Olympic Games for next summer. As the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has formally lodged an appeal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on his behalf. What is the biggest hurdle Pacquiao faces? Ageism.
The age limit currently is 40-years-old for the Olympic qualifiers, so by rule, it would be impossible if the letter of the law was upheld for him to fight at the event. Yet, it is hard to believe a nation, a business, or a major sporting event would say no to a global icon like Manny Pacquiao who would bring in viewers, and honestly, since 2016 it has been hard to watch Olympic boxing live.
"I am grateful to the Philippine Olympic Committee under the leadership of Abraham Tolentino for making a recommendation to the IOC to process my eligibility to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic games," Pacquiao said in a statement released to the public. "I believe that age is not a barrier to fulfill our dreams. A clear heart and mind always finds its way to realize our dreams."
Despite a successful professional boxing career and wins over fighters such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, and Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao did not have the opportunity to participate in the Olympics. Pacquiao turned professional at the age of seventeen, and it appears that this is the one last dance he wants is to represent his country in the Olympics.
Pacquiao wants to end his career with an Olympic gold medal.
"I believe that it is not too late to fulfill my dream of bringing home a boxing gold medal from the Olympics for the Philippines," said Pacquiao.
No comes the somber truth. Often professional boxers no matter their ilk are ill-prepared for amateur competition, so even if he were entered in the Olympics keep in mind he has never really fought in an amateur style before he'd compete in this event.