- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Manny Pacquiao officially announced his retirement from boxing early Wednesday, weeks after unveiling a plan to run for president in the Philippines.

Pacquiao, a sitting senator in his home country, last fought a month ago, losing a unanimous decision to Yordenis Ugas. He is three months shy of his 43rd birthday and steps away with a 26-year, 72-fight career and a 62-8-2 record with 39 knockouts. 

If this is truly it for Pacquiao, he‘ll go down as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Making his debut in 1995, Pacquiao won titles in a record eight weight classes — spanning from junior flyweight (108 pounds) to junior middleweight (154). He holds wins over legends like Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Oscar De La Hoya. He was also in the highest-grossing fight of all time, losing a decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2015. 

Pacquiao made the announcement in a 14-minute video titled “Good bye Boxing” that was published early Wednesday.

“Even me, I’m amazed at what I have done,” Pacquiao said. “The only boxer to hold world titles in four different decades and became the oldest boxer to win a world welterweight title, an amazing accomplishment.”

“It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over,” he added. “Today, I am announcing my retirement. 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.”

Pacquiao won a total of 12 world titles. He exploded onto the U.S. scene in 2003 with a one-sided defeat over Barrera and his popularity grew from there. He had a memorable trilogy of bouts with Morales in the mid-2000s, losing the first fight but coming back to win the next two by stoppage. 

His most memorable set of fights were arguably the four-fight series against Marquez, a rivalry that spanned years. In 2004, Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round only for the fight to end up a draw after a 12-round war. In 2008, the two fought for a second time with Pacquiao edging out a win on a split decision. Three years later, they fought again — with Marquez on the wrong side of the scorecards on a majority decision. But in 2012, Marquez finally got his due with a shocking sixth-round knockout over Pacquiao

Pacquiao, though, didn’t let the loss diminish him. He bounced back with three straight wins — including avenging an earlier loss to welterweight Tim Bradley — to set up the showdown with Mayweather. That fight drew a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys, shattering the previous record of 2.4 million. 

In his later years, Pacquiao still was productive. He became the oldest welterweight to ever win a world title in 2019 with a win over Keith Thurman.

Pacquiao grew up impoverished in the Philippines. He made his professional boxing debut as a junior flyweight in 1995 at the age of 16 and became on of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

Now, he‘s promised to fight poverty and warned corrupt politicians they will soon end up in jail if he becomes president.

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

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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