Manny Pacquiao has made his Rio 2016 Olympics decision

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The upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil could be a first when it comes to boxing.

If the Amateur International Boxing Association agrees to a change to its constitution next month then, for the first time in the event's history, professional fighters will be allowed to compete at the Olympic games.


The controversial change could see a host of high-profile pros go up against the world's best amateurs in Rio. That, though, will not include recently retired boxing legend Manny Pacquaio who was said to be considering representing the Philippines.


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According to the executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Phillippines (ABAP), Ed Picson, Pacquiao has opted against returning to the ring to take part in the Olympics:

Picson also noted that the ABAP's hierarchy are aware of the former World Champion's decision:

The news comes on the same day that the Filipino authority is due to submit the list of competitors for their final Olympic qualifying event - a competition in Azerbaijan in June that Pacquiao would have had to take part in to be considered for Rio.

Only last week, Picson had said he "hoped" the 37-year-old would say yes to the opportunity but, with the boxing great having only recently won a place in the Filipino senate, it looks like he is focussing on his political responsibilities.

Missed opportunity

Pacquaio's decision will also put to an end the prospect of the veteran fighter making his first appearance in the Olympics as a competitor.

Having turned professional aged just 16, he was never part of the nation's squad for the summer event and his only participation in any Olympics had been as Team Philippines' flag-bearer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony.

Pacquiao's participation would also have given the nation a huge boost as they go in search of their first Olympic boxing medal since Mansueto Velasco won silver in 1996. They have never won Olympic gold.

With the vote to allow pros in the games now less than one week away, Pacquaio's decision only adds to the feeling that the majority of big name professional fighters aren't on board with the idea.

Bad idea?

Already this week, we've heard both Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson come out to publicly criticise the plan.

De La Hoya for one will be glad Pacquiao won't be involved:

"My Olympic dreams would have been shattered because there's a professional fighter taking my place," he said, via News 3 Las Vegas.

"How can you put a professional fighter at his peak against a young kid who's only like 17?"

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