Manila - Boxing great Manny Pacquiao said
on Wednesday it would be an honour to fight for the Philippines at this year's
Rio Olympics, where professional fighters could be allowed to compete for the
The eight-time world champion said he had
been "personally invited" to the Rio de Janeiro Games by Wu
Ching-Kuo, president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) - the
governing body for amateur boxing.
"It would be my honour to represent
the country in the Olympics," Pacquiao said in a statement.
"If I would be asked to represent
boxing, why not? I would do everything for my country."
The 37-year-old, one of the world's
wealthiest boxers, made the comments while training for what he said would be
his last professional fight, an April 9 Las Vegas rematch with American Timothy
Wu said in Switzerland on Monday that AIBA
would vote within three months on proposals that would allow all professional
fighters to compete in the Olympic Games, including in Rio.
Wu said proposed changes to AIBA statutes,
set to be put to a vote at a special congress of AIBA confederations at the end
of May, could leave Olympic eligibility in the hands of the national boxing
Qualifying for the 2016 Rio summer games
that begin on August 5 is already under way, but Wu noted that there were still
opportunities for professionals to qualify.
Spokesperson for the Philippine Olympic
Committee had no comment on Pacquiao's statement.
Pacquiao has posted a 57-6-2 win-loss-draw
record in a glittering 21-year pro career that began in January 1995.
He never competed in the Olympics, although
he did act as the country's flag-bearer in the 2008 games.
Already an elected member of the House of
Representatives, he is running for a Senate seat in May elections - with an eye
on an eventual presidential bid.
His Olympic comments came after he touched
off a global firestorm with controversial comments describing homosexual
couples as "worse than animals".
The comments, for which he has made a
qualified apology, cost him his long-term association with major global sponsor