Manny Pacquiao, a boxing legend, has declared his retirement from the sport in order to focus on his political career.
The multi-division world champion, who is also a senator in his home nation of the Philippines, has already declared his ambition to run for president in 2022. Last month in Las Vegas, the 42-year-old was defeated by Yordenis Ugas of Cuba.
Pacquiao characterised quitting as the “hardest decision” of his life in a video uploaded on social media, saying boxing had given him “the chance to battle my way out of poverty” and “the courage to influence more lives.”
He also expressed gratitude to his fans, friends, and all those who have supported him during his career, particularly long-time trainer Freddie Roach, whom he referred to as “my family, a brother, and a friend.”
Pacquiao travelled to the capital Manila as a youngster after growing up in poverty in the Philippines’ south, where he began a boxing career that would make him one of the world’s highest-paid athletes. At the age of 19, he won his first major title, the WBC flyweight title, after defeating Thailand’s Chatchai Sasakul.
He is today considered one of the greatest professional boxers of all time, having won 12 titles in eight weight divisions and being the only boxer to hold world titles for four decades. Pacquiao defeated Keith Thurman to earn the WBA (Super) welterweight championship in July 2019, becoming him the oldest welterweight world champion in history at the age of 40, albeit he was stripped of the belt in January 2021 due to inactivity.
He finishes with a 62-win, eight-loss, and two-draw record. Pacquiao first entered politics in 2010 when he earned a seat in the Philippines’ lower house of congress, before being elected to the upper chamber for a six-year term in 2016. He announced his desire to run for president earlier this month after being nominated as a candidate by a group of the ruling party, the PDP-Laban.