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By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
A LEGENDARY era in boxing has come to an end.
Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao has decided to hang up his gloves after 26 years of fighting in the ring as he prepares to run for the presidency in national elections set for next year.
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion made the formal announcement on Wednesday in a video post with a title “Goodbye boxing” on his verified Facebook account.
“It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today, I am announcing my retirement,” Mr. Pacquiao said.
“I just heard the final bell… Tapos na ang boxing (My boxing career is over).”
The General Santos City native, who turned professional at the age of 16 in 1995, went on to thank all the people and groups who were part of his incredible boxing run as well as the fans who stuck and supported him throughout.
“I never thought that this day would come. As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao,” he 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. Goodbye boxing.”
The announcement was already expected weeks before as Mr. Pacquiao, in several interviews, was quoted as saying that he is done fighting and now focusing on his duties as a public servant, including running for president of the republic.
Mr. Pacquiao recently accepted the presidential nomination of a faction of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party and is set to file his candidacy anytime next week.
Pacman’s retirement drops the curtain on a highly successful boxing career spanning nearly three decades.
Throughout his run, Mr. Pacquiao, 42, compiled a record of 62-8-2 with 39 knockouts en route to winning eight world division titles, the only professional boxer to do so in history, and holding the record of being the only boxer to win world titles in four different decades, solidifying his place among the best in the sport all-time.
He fought and defeated other legends in the sport like Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto.
Mr. Pacquiao fell short in his fight against undefeated American world champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in 2015, losing by unanimous decision, but he still made a good account of himself.
The Filipino legend last saw action in August for the World Boxing Association super welterweight title in Las Vegas where he lost by unanimous decision to Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas.
FIGHTER LIKE NO OTHER
For boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano, Mr. Pacquiao was a one-of-a-kind fighter whose accomplishments would be difficult to top.
“There will never be another Manny Pacquiao. I even think it’s blasphemous to imagine a boxer to eclipse what he has accomplished in the sport. Aside from being the only eight-division world champion, we should not overlook the fact that he is a natural lightweight who dominated the welterweight division for more than a decade,” the analyst said in an interview.
Adding, “What’s even more remarkable is the fact that he still gave the young lions of his division a good spanking past his prime. We’re fortunate that our generation had an athlete like him who transcended the four corners of the ring.”
But the analyst was quick to say that while it seemingly is the end for Pacman, it remains to be seen if his decision to finally retire stays, citing an instance in the past when he called it quits, but eventually made his way back.
“The decision to retire from the sport of boxing because he’s running for a much higher post in the government makes me a bit skeptical. Remember that he also called it a career in 2016 when he ran for senator. A few months later, he took it back and unceremoniously ‘unretired’ to fight Jessie Vargas,” he said.
“At the moment, let’s take it with a grain of salt. I would rather wait for the official and final tally of the May 2022 elections.”