After more than two decades of fighting, boxing champ Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao formally announced that he is quitting the sports that he loved best and that changed his life.
His retirement will enable Pacquiao to focus on his next big fight: the presidency.
“Goodbye, boxing,” he said in a video. “Thank you for changing my life when my family was desperate. You gave us hope. You gave me the chance to fight our way out of poverty. Because of you, I was able to inspire people all over the world. Because of you, I have been given the courage to change more lives.”
Last week, the senator accepted the nomination of the PDP-Laban faction headed by Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko” Pimentel 3rd as its standard bearer in the 2022 national elections.
His last fight likely helped him decide to chase his presidential bid. On August 21, Pacquiao lost by a unanimous decision to Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas. The defeat was his second in his last five boxing bouts.
In his video announcement, Pacquiao acknowledged a long list of people, including his family, his trainers and the entire world of boxing fans.
At age 42, Pacquiao ends his 26-year, 72-fight career with 62 wins, eight losses and two draws. Of those 62 wins, 39 were by knockout and 23 by decision.
He won 12 world titles.
“To the greatest fans and the greatest sport in the world, thank you! Thank you for all the wonderful memories. This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but I’m at peace with it. Chase your dreams, work hard, and watch what happens. Goodbye boxing,” he said in an earlier post on Twitter.
Pimentel welcomed Pacquiao’s decision, saying his retirement will allow the latter to focus on his presidential campaign.
“The same focus he showed in winning a world record eight divisions (weight classes) in boxing, he will now give to his campaign and beyond,” Pimentel said.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd said Pacquiao “will always be the greatest boxer of all time.”
“I wish him well,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri described Pacquiao as “a living legend.”
He said Pacquiao “has nothing left to prove as an athlete, and as the only eight-division champion in boxing history, he has, in fact, set new records that I don’t think anyone will be able to match soon.”
“He has given us some of the most exciting boxing matches in recent history, and he is already one of the all-time greats, whose skill and technique will continue to be studied by coaches and boxers for years to come,” he added.
“Already he has inspired countless Filipino athletes and given them hope that with hard work and dedication, they can succeed, no matter where they come from.”
With Bernadette E. Tamayo