If you’ve ever wanted to see Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao box at the Olympic Games, it’s now possible.
The Associated Press reports on Wednesday the International Boxing Association voted ‘overwhelmingly’ in favor of allowing any boxer to attempt to qualify for the Olympic event and earn a spot on their national team.
It’s certainly an interesting development to allow pro boxers to participate in the games. I’m not sure it would be a fair fight to have a top pro boxer face off against an amateur, but the Olympics is about the best of the best, so having the most skilled boxers makes for better entertainment.
AIBA spokesman Nicolas Jomard told the AP amateurs should have no problem holding their own against the pros.
“AIBA boxers have gone through a stringent qualification,” Jomard said. “So they’re the best around. A lot of them have already sparred with some of these professionals. So the disparity of level, the boys against men tonality, is a misjudgment. All the talk of disparity of level is just not true.“
As mentioned in the report, it’s hard to say if top boxers jump ship to participate. Unlike the extremely lucrative pro boxing ranks, the boxers wouldn’t get paid for participating in the Olympics and would have to fight five times in two weeks. That’s unheard of in pro ranks. Considering how little pro boxers actually fight, unless they really want a gold medal, there’s little incentive to participate.
It’s going to be fascinating to see which, if any, pro boxers make the jump the Olympic ring. I wouldn’t expect Mayweather or Pacquiao to jump ship anytime soon, but the new ruling should see a shift in participants.