Philippines boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, despite his numerous achievements in the sport, has never had the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games and win a medal. Despite being a flag bearer for the Philippines during the opening ceremony, he missed out on competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics due to a rule change allowing boxers under 40 to compete. At that time, he chose to prioritize his political career in his home country.
Now, at the age of 44, Manny Pacquiao is aiming for a sensational return to the boxing ring, with the intention of finally participating in the Olympic Games, specifically targeting the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Philippines Olympic Committee president, Abraham Solentino, confirmed Pacquiao’s interest in representing the Philippines at the Olympics for the first time as Pacquiao’s camp reached out to express his desire to fight in Paris.
While the universality rule has had mixed results in the past, with some experienced fighters being humbled by amateurs, Manny Pacquiao’s remarkable career and skillset could certainly make him a strong contender.
However, it’s important to consider the toll that boxing takes on the body, especially at the age of 45. The decision to compete in the early 2024 qualifiers is yet to be confirmed, but the announcement is eagerly awaited by fans and observers alike.
Manny Pacquiao: Gold Medal odds
We don’t have the odds yet on the likelihood of Pacquiao winning a gold medal but attest it won’t be as easy as some surmise.
Competition from elite pros: Sure, even though Pacquiao would be 45, he’d still be the fighter to beat among amateur Olympians. But, what about top-level, professional welterweights in their 20s? PacMan’s foray into the Olympics could prompt other elite pros to follow suit. Imagine Pacquiao facing a 27-year-old Jaron Ennis (31-0, 28 KO) below.
Only 3 rounds: Olympic boxing matches are just 3 rounds, well short of the 12-round fights Manny has been accustomed to the last 15 years. It’s quite possible an inferior but much younger, well-conditioned foe bests him in 2 of the 3 rounds. Three rounds isn’t much time to wear down an opponent and implement multiple strategies.
At 5’6,” Manny is short for a welterweight. A lesser-experienced but younger, long-armed, 5’11” fighter in the same weight class could devise an effective stick-and-move strategy to survive – and win – 2 of the 3 rounds.
The limited number of rounds in Olympic contests (3) works to the disadvantage of pro-style fighters who like to weaken and dissect opponents over 6,7,8, and 9 rounds.
Age: Lastly, Manny will be 45. And while he can still whoop a lot of tough opponents, his age and all of the wear and tear on his body would be yet another obstacle – especially in 3-round fights where he has to start quickly and fight at an extremely fast pace throughout.
Back to the odds… Pacquiao’s odds of winning gold depend on how many top pros choose to compete in his division. Even if none enter, Pacquiao’s chances of winning gold might be 50/50 at best should he decide to participate.
In summary, Manny Pacquiao’s potential return to boxing for the Paris 2024 Olympics is generating significant excitement, considering his storied career and the missing Olympic medal on his list of accomplishments. His pursuit of representing the Philippines at the Olympics is a testament to his dedication and enduring passion for the sport.