As a young man Manny Pacquiao dreamed of joining the national team in the Philippines to compete as an amateur. But he was turned away with the selectors feeling there were more talented candidates out there.

It is something that Pacquiao still feels bitter about by the sounds of it. He is hoping to represent the Philippines at the 2024 Olympics although his age could be an issue.

Pacquiao will be 45 when the Paris Olympics get underway. He spoke to Rappler at a volleyball match this week and explained why he was so desperate to finally get the opportunity that was denied him decades ago,

“From the beginning, I went to Manila to be part of the Philippine team but I wasn’t picked. I was rejected because they said I was not good.”


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Turning pro

Pacquiao ended up turning pro at the age of 16 instead. His amateur record of 60-4 must have put him in contention for a spot on the Olympic team but having been rejected he decided to start fighting for money instead.

These days Pacquiao does not need to fight for money. His net worth is estimated at $200,00 USD and he doesn’t need to compete in the Olympics either but the 44 year old clearly wants to,

“My heart and desire is to claim a gold medal in the Olympics,” he told Rappler.


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Universality rule

It is nearly three decades since Pacquiao last competed as an amateur. He would not be eligible to qualify for the Olympic Games via a traditional route but there is a loophole the senator could potentially exploit.

The Philippines Olympic Committee can nominate up to four men to compete under something called ‘the universality rule’. Given Pacquiao’s reputation, popularity and influence he has a good chance of securing one of these sought after slots.

Pacquiao is supposed to be facing Buakaw Banchamek in an exhibition boxing match in Thailand. But it sounds like the 2024 Olympics is the only thing on his mind right now and he told Rappler that,

“(I’m) waiting for that and I’m excited about it.”