Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao officially announced on Wednesday he is retiring from the sport as he is planning to run for the Philippine presidency in the 2022 elections.
In a video on social media, the 42-year-old eight-division world champion said, “Goodbye boxing” while he thanked the whole world and the Filipino people for supporting him throughout his career.
“I just heard the final bell. Boxing is over,” Pacquiao said. “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.”
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. Good bye boxing. https://t.co/Bde4wO82sA
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) September 29, 2021
The world boxing icon, who is also a Philippine senator and has been dividing his time between politics and boxing, announced earlier this month his candidacy for president.
Pacquiao has 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 they “will soon end in jail together.”
“We need progress. We need to win against poverty. We need [the] government to serve our people with integrity, compassion, and transparency,” Pacquiao said as he announced his run for office. “We gave you a chance, but you failed us. We waited for a long time, decades have passed, but nothing happened.”
Pacquiao finished 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 and is the only fighter in history to win titles in eight different weight classes.
His retirement from boxing followed a disheartening defeat to Yordenis Ugas in Paradise, Nevada, on Aug. 21. The younger Cuban boxer beat Pacquiao by unanimous decision, retaining his WBA welterweight title. It was Pacquiao’s first fight in more than two years.
Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches life story and legendary career brought honor to his Southeast Asian nation, where he is known by the monikers Pacman, People’s Champ, and National Fist.
He left his impoverished home in the southern Philippines as a teenager and stowed away on a ship bound for Manila. He made his professional boxing debut as a junior flyweight in 1995 at the age of 16, fighting his way out of abject poverty to become one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.