Will Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch take place in Rio?
AIBA lets pros vie in 2016 Games
Now that AIBA – boxing’s governing body – has given the green light for professional boxers to compete in the Rio Olympics this August, are we seeing Manny Pacquiao heading back to the gym to train?
And a more mouth-watering prospect would be for American Floyd Mayweather Jr., coming out of retirement to try his luck at Olympic gold which eluded him in the 1996 Atlanta Games where he lost in the semifinals.
Pacquiao and Mayweather fought to a sleepy 12-round match-up last year won by the American via unanimous decision.
That fight was the richest in boxing history with Mayweather pocketing $300M and Pacquiao $200M excluding PPV shares.
Since then several camps have proposed a mega-buck rematch.
But with both boxers retired and the Filipino icon vowing to focus on his political career after winning a Senate seat last May, and Mayweather still adamant in his decision to hang his boxing gloves, the prospect of seeing both iconic fighters back inside the ring remains a distant dream.
Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to have annexed world titles in eight weight divisions while Mayweather is regarded by many as the best boxer of his generation with a 49-0 record.
An overwhelming vote by AIBA on Wednesday allows any boxer to try to qualify next month and earn selection for their national team. But AIBA’s plan has been criticized across the professional ranks as a move toward dangerous mismatches between established boxers and inexperienced amateurs.
“At the moment, it is difficult to anticipate (how many), but there will be some who want to get qualification,” AIBA President CK Wu said after a special meeting of member federations.
Of 88 federations who came to Lausanne for the single-issue meeting, 84 approved the rule change less than 10 weeks before the first bouts in Rio.
The other four members abstained, AIBA said.
A total of 26 entry places can be earned at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela next month, AIBA said.
TARGET 2020 GAMES
Though few pros are likely to make the Rio lineup at such short notice, the long-term aim is letting paid fighters know they should target the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“These are milestones for Tokyo. This is what is happening now,” the Netherlands federation president Boris van der Vorst said.
Wu has consistently pushed to extend AIBA’s influence over professional boxing, and already relaxed rules to allow paid fighters to compete at the Olympics.
In 2013, eligibility for Rio was given to boxers who are signed to AIBA-run professional tournaments.
It is unclear how many professional fighters would be attracted by an Olympic tournament — fighting up to five times over two weeks and going unpaid.
Some would also likely not meet the demands of already being in a testing regime with their national federation approved by the World Anti-Doing Agency. /with AP
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