Manny Pacquiao announces retirement from boxing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao officially hung up his gloves. The eight-division world champion and senator from the Phil

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao officially hung up his gloves.

The eight-division world champion and senator from the Philippines announced his retirement from the ring on Wednesday.

“As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank everyone, especially the Filipino people for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye boxing, ”Pacquiao, 42, 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 announce my retirement ”.

Pacquiao thus ended a 26-year career in which he played 72 fights, with 62 victories, eight defeats and two draws. Of those 62 wins, 39 were by knockout and 23 by decision of the judges. He has lifted 12 world champion titles.

His retirement from professional sports came after a disappointing loss to Yordenis Ugás in Paradise, Nevada, on August 21. The young Cuban fighter, who defected to the United States in 2010, defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision and retained his title of welterweight champion from the World Boxing Association. It was the Filipino’s first match in more than two years.

“Thank you for changing my life, when my family was desperate, you gave us hope, you gave me the opportunity to fight my way out of poverty,” Pacquiao said in the video. “Thanks to you, I was able to inspire people around the world. Thanks to you I have had the courage to change more lives ”.

Pacquiao recently hinted at a possible withdrawal, something that was expected because he has his sights set on a bigger political battle. Earlier this month he accepted his party’s nomination and said he will run for the Philippine presidency in the May 2022 elections.

Pacquiao has accused the government of President Rodrigo Duterte, his formal ally, of worsening corruption in the country. He has vowed to fight poverty and warned corrupt politicians that they will soon end up in jail.

Pacquiao’s story of self-improvement and his legendary career – he is the only boxer to have won titles in eight different categories – has brought honors to his Southeast Asian nation, where he is known by the nicknames Pacman, People’s Champion and National Fist.

Pacquiao left his humble home in the southern Philippines as a teenager and stowed away for the capital, Manila. He made his professional boxing debut as a junior flyweight in 1995 at age 16, struggling to rise out of extreme poverty and become one of the highest paid athletes in the world.

Eddie Banaag, a 79-year-old retiree, said that Pacquiao was his idol and that he watched almost all of his fights, but he believes the boxing icon should have retired sooner.

“He should have done it right after his win over (Keith) Thurman,” Banaag said of the July 20, 2019, fight in Las Vegas, the penultimate of his career. “It would have been better if he ended his boxing career with a win rather than a loss.”

Regardless, Pacquiao is convinced that he will always be remembered as a winner. Hundreds of millions of dollars in bags and his record in the ring support it.

“I will never forget what I did and achieve in a life I couldn’t imagine,” Pacquiao said Wednesday. “I just heard the final bell. Boxing is over ”.