There are perhaps two major sticking points in the illustrious fight history of Philippine boxing legend and incumbent Senator Manny Pacquiao: Juan Manuel Marquez who managed to epically knock him out in their fourth encounter back in 2012, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. whom he never did beat in 2015. The latter has successfully entered his second professional retirement with a clean 50-win 27-KO record, and recently even visited the Philippines to meet with Manny and do a few product endorsements in the country. He has also somewhat definitively shot down rematches with Pacquiao. And now, he apparently has been tapped by China to help develop their boxers for Tokyo 2020.
The Philippine Star has it that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is now a “Special Advisor” for the National Boxing Team of China. This was announced by the Chinese Boxing Federation on Sunday, July 21, at a post on the Chinese social media network WeChat. Their entry noted that upon his being named as a special advisor, Mayweather pledged that for the Chinese boxing team he would “go all-out to use his influence and resources to support the Chinese boxing project in achieving excellent results,” for the 2020 Sumer Olympics in Tokyo.
So far this has been the only source of information on the retired undefeated American boxer’s purported involvement with developing a training program for China’s Olympic boxers. Mayweather himself made no mention of this event so far in his own social media pages, a silence shared by other Chinese athletic agencies or the national government itself. It does however echo an earlier episode from 1979 when the Chinese Communist leadership under Deng Xiaoping invited Muhammad Ali to visit them at the CPC headquarters in Beijing. This came in the wake of the decision to un-ban boxing and other competitive sports following the Chinese Cultural Revolution from over a decade prior.
Even then, boxing for China was a curiosity and non-spectacle sport. It only came into the spotlight when Zhou Shiming won a bronze medal in the light flyweight division for boxing during the 2004 Athens Olympics. He would then earn gold for both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics before embarking on a professional career with 11 fights, 9 wins, 2 losses and 2 KOs. Since then Chinese athletic committees have pushed for more boxers to be trained for international competition. Getting Floyd Mayweather Jr. as advisor only comes across as a logical step for more Summer Olympic medals in Tokyo by next year.
Image courtesy of GMA News