By Sports Illustrated
With Olympic boxing now becoming more competitive, Senator Manny Pacquiao sees the need to revive Go-for-gold boxing, a grassroots program of the old Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP).
The eight-time world division boxing champion, who revealed that he was himself a product of Go-for-Gold, still believes that boxing is a sport that can deliver the first ever gold medal for the Philippines.
“Noon inspired ako sa program na ‘yan ng Go-for-gold kaso nga lang hindi na natuloy, kaya pinag- uusapan na namin ni chairman (Butch Ramirez) na ibalik namin ang Go-for-gold,” said Pacquio on Thursday (Sept. 1) during his speech before a crowd of the most influential men and women in Philippine sports.
“Go-for-gold nu’ng araw lumaban pa ako ng diyan. Naka ilang fight din ako. Na remember ko ‘yan marami tayong na-produce na boksingero. I don’t say na dahil boksingero ako, priority natin ang boxing, Pero (I believe) sa boxing pa rin tayo maaring makakuha ng gold.”
Go-for-gold was the flagship grassroots program of father and son Mel and Manny Lopez, who successively held the leadership of ABAP before the group of businessman/sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan took over.
Paquiao, however, did not make it to the national team and went on to join the pro ranks.
In the program, boxers represent their town, city, province or private club in an Olympic-style, ladder-type competition to reach the national finals from where the national pool members of boxers are culled from.
Pangilinan’s trusted lieutenant Ricky Vargas was installed as the association’s president in 2009 and changed ABAP’s name to Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines.
For Some reasons, Go-for-gold was discontinued.