Star pro boxers’ thoughts on competing in Olympics

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao
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While boxing’s international governing body voted to allow professionals in the Olympics, few, if any, well-known professionals are expected to compete in Rio.

Many active and retired world champions have chimed in on the possibility of Olympic eligibility for pros.

Floyd Mayweather, who went 49-0 as a pro but lost as an amateur at the 1996 Olympics en route to bronze, said in February that he had no interest in unretiring.

“Absolutely not,” Mayweather reportedly said when asked if he missed the spotlight. “For my body to recover from all my fights will be for the rest of my life.”

Manny Pacquiao, whose only Olympic experience was as the Philippines’ flag bearer at the Beijing Opening Ceremony, said last week that he would not pursue the Rio Games.

“I have decided to prioritise my legislative duty as I owe it to the people who voted for me,” Pacquiao said in a text message last week, according to Agence France-Presse. “So I believe I don’t have enough time to prepare [for the Olympics].”

Wladimir Klitschko, a 1996 Olympic super heavyweight champion and former world heavyweight champion for Ukraine, has advocated for professionals to be allowed in the Olympics.

“Any other sport, they can play professionally [and play in the Olympics],” Klitschko said last year. “It’s a shame for boxing that professional boxers cannot perform in the Olympics.”

Klitschko would look into competing at the Rio Olympics, if it’s feasible, after his July 9 fight with Tyson Fury, one of his representatives said in March.

Given the final Olympic qualifier is July 3-8 in Venezuela, the 40-year-old Klitschko and Fury will have no chance of competing in Rio.

Amir Khan won 2004 Olympic silver for Great Britain but said Wednesday he would like to compete for Pakistan at an Olympics, according to AFP. Khan’s parents were born in Pakistan.

“It’s a decision which I welcome,” Khan said of pros in the Olympics in Pakistan on Wednesday, according to AFP. “It will help boxers, and if I am permitted as per rules and from my promoter, then I would love to compete for Pakistan.”

Khan was knocked out by Canelo Alvarez on May 6.

The long-retired Mike Tyson doesn’t believe pros should be allowed in the Olympics.

“Some of the pro fighters are gonna get beat by the amateurs,” Tyson said last week, according to Sky Sports. “If they are like the amateur fighters that I was fighting in the ’80s, like [three-time Cuban Olympic heavyweight champion Teófilo] Stevenson [who Tyson never fought] and those guys, and all those guys were fighting with the Russians and the Cubans, they are gonna beat some of the champions.”

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