Boxing: Pacquiao receives Rio invite, Mayweather not interested

Manny Pacquiao. Photo / Getty Images
Manny Pacquiao. Photo / Getty Images

The legendary Manny Pacquiao has received an invite from boxing's top brass to compete at this year's Olympics, but his famous rival Floyd Mayweather is a confirmed non-starter at Rio.

Boxing's world governing body, the AIBA, is fast tracking an extraordinary proposal which would allow the world's finest professionals to compete at the summer Olympics, starting this year in Brazil.

Olympic boxing has been an amateur domain, of three round contests where boxers wear protective head gear and focus on scoring points rather than knockouts. There is a vast difference between professional and amateur boxing although many Olympic medallists like Muhammad Ali and Mayweather went on to become professional superstars.

The Daily Mail reports that according to the Philippine Star, Pacquiao received the personal invite from AIBA president Dr Ching-Kuo Wu. Pacquiao is preparing for his third fight against Timothy Bradley, a world welterweight contest, in what is supposed to be his swansong.

Mayweather, who defeated Pacquiao last year in their belated but long-awaited 'Fight of the Century', won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The 39-year-old Mayweather said there was absolutely no chance of him returning to the ring.

"For my body to recover from all my fights will be for the rest of my life. I'm truly blessed to have been fighting for so much of my life," he said.

"I had a great run. Ain't no more for this body to heal but rest."

Dr Wu said: "We want the best boxers to come to the Olympic Games. It is AIBA's 70th birthday, and we want something to change - not after four years, but now.

"It is an IOC policy to have the best athletes in the Games, and of the international federations, AIBA is probably the only one without professional athletes in the Olympics."

But opponents include former champ Lennox Lewis, who described the proposed rule change as preposterous and said putting professionals in the ring against amateurs was unfair and dangerous.

- NZ Herald

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