Eight division World Boxing champion Manny Pacquaio on Wednesday announced his retirement from boxing as he now chases his dream to run for presidency in the forthcoming elections.
The now senator in the Philippines posted on his Facebook page and urged his fans to stay put.
“As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like 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 is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I am announcing my retirement.”
Pacquiao described retiring as the “hardest decision” of his life, adding boxing had given him “the chance to fight my way out of poverty” and “the courage to change more lives”.
The 42 year old also thanked his fans, friends and all those who supported him throughout his career, most notably long-time trainer Freddie Roach, who he described as “my family, a brother and a friend.”
He won his first major title in 1998 at the age of 19, defeating Thailand’s Chatchai Sasakul for the WBC flyweight title.
Within three years he was fighting in Las Vegas, beating South Africa’s Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title at the MGM Grand, the venue for most of his fights in the following two decades.
He is now regarded as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time, winning 12 different titles across eight weight divisions and is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades.
In July 2019, Pacquiao became the oldest welterweight world champion in history at the age of 40 when he defeated Keith Thurman to win the WBA (Super) welterweight title, though he was stripped of the title in January 2021 because of inactivity.
The 2022 Philippine presidential and vice presidential elections are scheduled to be held on Monday, May 9, 2022, as part of that year’s general election and Pacquiao has already shown interest as he now is set for campaigns.
The 42-year-old’s final fight was a defeat by Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas last month.
By Shadrack Andenga Odinga