We were first to warn about Pacquiao not qualified for Olympic Games

By Alex P. Vidal

“My life needs editing.”—Mort Sahl

SIX months after we wrote the story, “Stop the joke, Pacquiao not qualified for Olympic Games,” news websites in the Philippines and around the world started to buzz with the following news:

“Pacquiao denied Olympics entry by the IOC” (Boxing Scene); Boxer “Manny Pacquiao, 45, can’t compete at Paris Olympics” (ESPN); “Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao denied exemption to participate in 2024 Summer Olympics” (Fox News); “Manny Pacquiao, 45, denied exemption to compete at Paris Olympics by IOC” (Yahoo News).

Manny “Pacquiao denied exemption to compete at 2024 Summer Olympics at 45 years old by the IOC” (CBS Sports); “Manny Pacquiao’s Olympic Dream Denied: IOC Upholds Age Restriction” (Boxing News 24); “Manny Pacquiao TOO OLD to compete at Paris Olympics… IOC refuses to change age limit to allow 45-year-old legend to return to the ring” (Daily Male Online).

We were actually the first to warn in an article in September 2023 that “Pacquiao can’t short cut his way to the Olympic Games.”

Olympic Games athletes—including boxers—cannot be 41 years old or older during the year 2024; and must be a minimum of 18 years old by date of birth by the first day of competition, or on July 26, 2024, the start of the Paris Games, which will end on August 11, 2024,” I wrote in my article for the Above The Belt and shared in my blogs on September 4, 2023.

“Pacquiao, born on December 17, 1978, will be 45 years old during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.”


My article further stated, thus:

Even if Pacquiao is 18 or 25 years old when he told Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino he wanted to be in the RP Team, the slot in the 71kg (welterweight) category can’t be handed to him on a silver platter.

This is not professional boxing where astute promoters and other demigods in Las Vegas can make anyone an instant challenger to battle for the world championship like what they did to Pacquiao and many other marquee names in prizefighting.

Frankly, Pacquiao became an eight-time world boxing champion not because he was superman or bionic man.

It’s because he was an instant challenger to reigning world champions in eight different divisions. Thank you, Bob Arum.

If professional boxing has godfathers, amateur boxing—the Olympic Games—has strict rules and qualifications.

Pacquiao can’t shortcut his way to the Olympic Games.


My article added: Even if the rules will allow a 45-year-old beakbuster to participate in the Olympic Games, younger and faster amateur boxers nowadays—even in the Philippines—will eat him alive.

In order to qualify for the Paris Games, the boxers must be able to roll past other competitors in the three qualification tournaments: continental, first, and second world qualifying stages.

They must pass through the proverbial eye of the needle. No palakasan system. No Bob Arum or Don King.

The continental tournament for Asian Olympic boxing aspirants is the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023.

With lack of preparations (granting he is 18 or 25 years old today), I don’t think Pacquiao is a shoo-in to take part in the continental tournament.

The first world qualification tournament is slated in Busto, Arzizio, Italy from February 29 to March 12, 2024. The second and last world qualification tournament is scheduled in Bangkok, Thailand from May 23 to June 3, 2024.

Again, even if Pacquiao is only 18 or 25 years old, he can’t be ready for the aforementioned world qualification tournaments since he has been inactive in the ring except in the exhibition bout against Korean patsy DK Yoo in December 2022.

Pacquiao is also set to tangle with Thai boxing legend Buakaw Banchamek in another exhibition match on July 21, 2024.

Before wounding up third in the May 2022 Philippine presidential election, Pacquiao lost his farewell fight against Yordenis Ugas in August 2021.

Thus, all these funny talks about boxing’s most celebrated grandpa donning the Philippine flag in boxing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games are nothing but jokes. It’s time to pull the plug on this hilarious story.

I hope the issue has been settled with finality to avoid confusion and distortion of facts.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)