Pacquiao will fly in to attend Thursday afternoon’s session, which marks the second round of the preliminary stages of the 10-day event, after receiving a personal invitation from AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference, Wu said:
“This is the benchmark for future world championships and I am pleased that Manny Pacquiao accepted my invitation to come and share his thoughts and ideas first-hand,” according to a statement on AIBA’s website.
He added that Pacquiao is a personal friend. “He’s never been to the World Championships and I said ‘come and have a look,’ ” AFP reported.
Pacquaio’s presence at the Ali bin Hamad al Attiya Arena in Al Sadd is bound to boost ticket sales as fans are expected to flock to catch sight of their hero.
The 36-year-old boxer holds eight world titles across different weight categories.
And during his 20-year-long career, Pacquaio has won 57 fights and lost just six, including highly publicized bout with Floyd Mayweather this year.
According to Forbes, he was the second-highest paid athlete in the world in 2015, netting $160 million in winnings and endorsements, and Pacquaio has said this week that he is likely to fight one last time before he retires next year.
A congressman since 2010, Pacquaio also said he is looking to win a seat in Congress during next year’s elections, ABC reported, and some commentators have already tipped him to be a possible future president of the Philippines.
The AIBA World Boxing Championships opened on Tuesday and over the course of the event, will see around 260 boxers from 70 different countries fight it out across nine separate weight categories.
The exact schedule for Thursday afternoon is not expected to be finalized until tonight once the preliminary rounds are over, organizers told Doha News.
This year, competitors will vie for the championship title, and for one of 23 qualification spots for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
As host country, Qatar has a five-man team made up of one light heavyweight, one lightweight, one featherweight and two middleweight boxers.
The titles refer to different subcategories of the main tournament, where boxers are divided by weights and compete against others in their class.
Tickets for the event are currently on sale, cost between QR25 and QR100, and can be bought online here.
Children under 12 years old are required to be accompanied by an adult, while those under 3 years old can enter for free and sit on their parents’ laps.
A full schedule of events can be viewed here.
Who’s going? Thoughts?