Manny Pacquiao Retires from Boxing Ahead of Presidential Candidacy in the Philippines

Manny Pacquiao Retires from Boxing Ahead of Presidential Candidacy in the Philippines

Manny Pacquiao is officially hanging up his boxing gloves.

On Wednesday, the 42-year-old legendary boxer announced his retirement, noting that it was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but I’m at peace with it.”

The athlete shared the news on social media with a touching video expressing his appreciation and sharing clips of moments from his lengthy career.

“I would like to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye boxing,” he said in the Facebook video. “It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I am announcing my retirement.”

In the clip, Pacquiao said he’s “amazed” at what he accomplished throughout his 26-year career before detailing some of his accolades. Over the years, he’s won 12 world titles, is the only boxer in history to secure world titles in eight separate weight classes, and is the only boxer to hold world titles in four different decades.

“Thank you for changing my life. When my family was desperate, you gave us hope, you gave me the chance to fight my way out of poverty,” Pacquiao continued in the video. “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.” 

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In August, Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, made a return to the ring following a two-year absence, facing off against Yordenis Ugás. Following his loss in that match, Pacquiao first hinted at his retirement.

“This sport is my passion,” he told reporters following his loss, the Associated Press reported. “That’s why I’m still here fighting at the age of 42. I’m enjoying it, but sometimes you have to think about the response of your body… My mind, my heart, it’s 100 percent. But my legs were cramping.”

Pacquiao suggested then that while boxing remained important, he felt there were other matters to consider: “In my heart, I want to continue to fight. But the thing is, I also have to consider my body. I’ve put it through a lot of things. Especially back in my country, there’s a lot of things that I need to accomplish to help people. I want to be an inspiration to the Philippine people inside and outside the ring.”

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Paquiao
| Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty

The athlete’s retirement comes after he announced last week that he is running for president of his home country, the Philippines. 

“I boldly accept the challenge of running as PRESIDENT of the Philippines. We need progress. We need to win against poverty. We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency. The time is now. I am ready to rise to the challenge of leadership,” he announced on social media.

Pacquiao — who The Chicago Tribune reports was at one time the country’s biggest individual taxpayer — has served as a Philippine congressman since 2010, though critics argue he has done little in terms of on-the-ground political work, such as passing bills or speaking one-on-one with constituents.

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Pacquiao will now run to replace Rodrigo Duterte, an extremely controversial leader whose early years as president were defined by his harsh anti-drug crusade (in which he endorsed the extra-judicial killings of drug traffickers and suspects and once said he would be “happy to slaughter” suspects).

Pacquiao will run as a member of the PDP-Laban party, accepting the party’s nomination at its national convention on Sept 19. “I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” he said in his speech, according to CBS News.