The eighth-class world champion and the Philippine senator announced his retirement from the ring on Wednesday.
“As I hang up my boxing gloves, I want to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye Boxing,” the 42-year-old said in a 14-minute video posted on his Facebook page. “It’s hard for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I am announcing my retirement.”
Pacquiao ended his 26-year, 72-fight career with 62 wins, eight losses and two draws. Of those 62 victories, 39 were by knockout and 23 by decision. He has won 12 world titles and is the only fighter in history to have won titles in eight different weight classes.
He retired from boxing after a disappointing defeat to Jordanes Ogas in Paradise, Nevada on August 21. The youngest Cuban boxer, who defected to the United States in 2010, defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision, and retained the WBA title. It was the first Pacquiao battle in more than two years.
“Thank you for changing my life, when my family was desperate, you gave us hope, and you gave me the opportunity to fight my way out of poverty,” Pacquiao said in the video. “Because of you, I was able to inspire people all over the world. Thanks to you I gave the courage to change more lives. I will never forget what I did and accomplished in my life that I cannot imagine. I just heard the last bell. Boxing is over.”
Pacquaio hinted at retirement recently. As expected, he has his sights set on a larger political battlefield. Earlier this month, he accepted his political party’s nomination and announced that he would run for the presidency of the Philippines in the May 2022 elections.
He accused the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, his former ally, of making corruption worse in the Philippines. He promised to fight poverty and warned corrupt politicians that they would soon end up in prison.
Pacquiao’s life story from poverty to riches and his legendary career brought honor to his Southeast Asian nation, where he is known by his nicknames Pacman, People’s Champ and National Fist.
He left his poor home in the southern Philippines as a teenager and hid in a ship bound for Manila. He made his professional boxing debut in a budding flyweight in 1995, at the age of 16, struggling his way out of extreme poverty to become one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Eddie Banaj, a 79-year-old retiree, said Pacquiao was his idol and watched nearly all of his fights. But he believes the boxing icon should have retired earlier.
“He should have done it right after he beat (Keith) Thurman,” Panag said of Pacquiao’s victory over Thurman on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Pacquiao’s second last fight. “It would have been better if he had finished his boxing career with a win, not a loss.”
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