Manny Pacquiao's Comeback Dreams Dashed after IOC Tells He Is Too Old to Compete In Paris Olympics as It Refuses to Change Age Limit

The Philippine Olympic body had discussed the possibility of securing a 'universality' entry for the Paris Summer Games.

Manny Pacquiao's Olympic dreams are over. Pacquiao's hopes of competing in the Paris Olympics were dashed after the International Olympic Committee decided not to revise its entry regulations, preventing the 45-year-old boxing legend from entering the competition.

Pacquiao retired from professional boxing in 2021. However, the former eight-weight world champion hoped to stage a comeback at this summer's Games. But on Sunday, the IOC said it had written to Olympic authorities in the Philippines, confirming that the age restriction for boxers, set at 40, would be upheld. The IOC increased the maximum age in Olympic boxing from 34 to 40 in 2013 but Pacquiao is past even the upper limit.

Dreams Shattered

Picture for representation
Manny Pacquiao Reuters

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has assumed control of Olympic boxing following the de-recognition of the International Boxing Association as the governing body.

It remains unclear whether Pacquiao planned to vie for a spot in the Paris Olympics through participation in either of the two qualification tournaments, scheduled to commence later this month in Italy and in May in Thailand.

The Philippine Olympic body had discussed the possibility of securing a 'universality' entry for the Paris Summer Games.

These entries serve as essentially free passes to events and are granted to countries with a limited number of athletes at the Olympics, often facing challenges in qualifying based on merit.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) raised the maximum age for Olympic boxing from 34 to 40 in 2013, but Manny Pacquiao, also known as 'Pac Man,' exceeds this upper limit.

Reaching a Dead End

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao was hoping to make a comeback Reuters

The IOC clarified on Sunday that the Philippines was deemed too successful to qualify for the 'universality' entry scheme.

"Universality places are not allocated to [teams] with an average of more than eight athletes in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games," read a statement from the IOC. "This is the case for the Philippine Olympic Committee."

The former Filipino presidential election hopeful concluded his illustrious career in September 2021 at the age of 42, having participated in 72 fights and securing victory in 12 world titles across a record-setting eight different weight divisions.

His final fight ended in a loss to Yordenis Ugas via unanimous decision.

He said: "It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Goodbye, boxing...Thank you for changing my life when my family was desperate. You gave us hope. You gave me the chance to fight our way out of poverty. Because of you, I was able to inspire people all over the world. Because of you, I have been given the courage to change more lives.''