By Ronnie Nathanielsz
A new deadline set by the International Boxing Organization -AIBA - under the jurisdiction of the International Olympic Committee, has given eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao time to change his mind if he so decides and accept a "wild card" entry to compete in the junior welterweight division of the Olympic Games in Rio in August.
ABAP executive director Ed Picson who cast the vote for the Philippine National Association for boxing in support of the proposal to allow pro boxers to fight in the Olympics beginning at the 2016 Games in Rio told BoxingScene.com/The Standard that there will be one additional qualifying tournament in Vargas, Venezuela on July 8 featuring boxers from AIBA's World Series of Boxing, the APB and pro boxers.
AIBA president Dr. Wu Kuo-Ching who met with Picson prior to the congress in Lausanne, Switzerland told the ABAP official that he "respects Manny's decision" not to compete in Rio and to concentrate on his obligation to the more than 16 million people who voted for him as a senator in the May elections.
Realizing the possibility that Pacquiao may change his mind, Dr. Wu informed Picson that the new deadline for qualifying had been moved from the original May 27 date to June 23.
At the same time the AIBA president brushed aside concerns about possible mismatches between pros and amateurs pointing out that if its going to be obvious from the start of a bout,the referees have the authority to stop it.
Picson allayed fears that some pro boxers might "butcher young amateurs" pointing out that AIBA referees who are highly qualified "can call a halt to a bout even after one solid blow. They could also give a fighter one, two or even three standing eight counts before stopping a bout."
He said that they have specific instructions that if a pro like heavyweight Wladimir Klitscxhko "is all over his opponent then they can stop the fight. We don't need to see a fighter beaten up."