MANILA, Philippines – Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is officially hanging up his gloves.
The eight-division world champion and Philippine senator announced his retirement from the ring on Wednesday.
“I want to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye boxing,” the 42-year-old said in a 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 won 12 world titles and is the only fighter in history to win titles in eight different weight categories.
Following his retirement from boxing following a disappointing loss to Yordenis Ugas in Paradise, Nevada, on August 21, the young Cuban boxer retained his WBA welterweight title by defeating Pacquiao by unanimous decision. It was Pacquiao’s first battle in more than two years.
“Thank you for changing my life. You gave us hope when my family was in despair, you gave me a way out of poverty,” Pacquiao said in the video. “Because of you, I inspire people around the world was able to do. It’s because of you that I have got the courage to change more lives.”
Pacquiao had recently hinted at retirement. This was also to be expected as he is setting his eyes on a bigger political battlefield. Earlier this month, he accepted the nomination of his political party and announced that he would run for President of the Philippines next May.
He has accused the administration of his former ally, President Rodrigo Duterte, of worsening corruption in the Philippines. He promised to fight poverty and warned corrupt politicians that they would soon go to jail.
Pacquiao’s rich life story and legendary career earned him respect in a Southeast Asian nation, where he is known by the monikers Pacman, People’s Champ, and National Fist.
He left his poor home in the southern Philippines as a teenager and boarded a ship bound for Manila. He debuted in professional boxing as a junior flyweight in 1995 at the age of 16, struggling to break out of abject poverty to become one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
Retired Eddie Banag, 79, said Pacquiao was his idol as a boxer and watched almost all of his fights. But he believes that the boxing icon should have retired earlier.
“He should have done it right after his win over (Keith) Thurman,” Banag said of Pacquiao’s victory over Thurman at Pacquiao’s second-to-last fight in Las Vegas on July 20, 2019. “It would have been better if he had ended his boxing career with a win rather than a defeat.”
Nevertheless, Pacquiao believes he will always be remembered as a winner. Millions of dollars in career earnings and no doubt about his record in the ring.
“I will never forget what I have done and achieved in my life,” Pacquiao said on Wednesday. “I just heard the last bell. Boxing is over.”