Pacquiao declines invitation to fight at Rio Olympics


MANILA, Philippines - Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has declined an invitation to compete at the 2016 Olympics, and will instead focus on his duties in the Philippine Senate.

Pacquiao, 37, had been extended a wild card entry by world boxing governing body AIBA to fight. The 8-division boxing champion announced his retirement following a unanimous decision win over Tim Bradley Jr in April and was one of 12 senators proclaimed last week for a 6-year term.

ABAP Executive Director Ed Picson tells Rappler that he was informed by a Pacquiao representative that he has decided to "prioritize his legislative duties."

"ABAP respects Sen. Manny's decision and wishes him well in his work in the senate," Picson tells Rappler in a text message. "He will be most welcome to come to Rio to cheer our athletes on as [ABAP president] Ricky Vargas said."

Pacquiao will not be eligible for the 2020 Olympics as he'd be past the 40-year age limit by the time the Tokyo Games take place.

The Philippines has already qualified two fighters for the Olympics - light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez - and will send 3 more to the Final Olympic Qualifiers - flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, bantamweight Mario Fernandez and welterweight Eumir Marcial - on June 11 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Each boxer who makes the semifinals will be qualified, plus the quarterfinalist who loses to the eventual gold medalist. –