By Mark Elezaj
Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino icon and the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions, has officially announced his retirement at the age of 42, via a 14-minute, 20-second video that was posted to his Facebook account on Tuesday night.
“I would like to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye boxing,”
“It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I am announcing my retirement.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
With this announcement, Pacquiao’s iconic 26-year career, which began in 1995 when a 16-year-old Pacquiao turned pro at 106 pounds, comes to an end with 62 wins, eight losses and two draws. Of those 62 wins, 39 were by knockout and 23 by decision.
Pacquiao won his first major title in 1998 at the age of 19, defeating Thailand’s Chatchai Sasakul for the WBC flyweight title.
Within three years he was fighting in Las Vegas, beating South Africa’s Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title at the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao’s first loss came by way of knockout against Rustico Torrecampo on Feb. 9, 1996, but he rolled off 28 wins in his next 31 matches, including 15 in a row at one point.
During this 28-1-2 stretch, Pacquiao won titles in the flyweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions.
Pacquiao lost to Erik Morales via unanimous decision in March 2005 and lost a chance to win the IBA and vacant WBC International super featherweight titles, but went on to win 15 straight matches, an undefeated streak that spanned over seven years.
The remainder of Pacquiao’s career saw him winning eight of his last 13 fights.
A pair of losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez began the stretch. However, he came back with three straight victories, including a rematch win over Bradley.
On May 2, 2015, one of the most anticipated fights of the century took place, when Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally stepped in the ring together with the WBO welterweight, WBA (Unified), WBC and The Ring welterweight titles were on the line.
Mayweather won the fight by unanimous decision en route to finishing his career undefeated.
Pacquiao continued to fight, winning five of his next six bouts, including a trilogy victory over Bradley.
Pacquiao’s résumé includes victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Ricky Hatton, Oscar DeLaHoya, Sugar Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley and, most recently, Keith Thurman.
The victory over Thurman made Pacquiao the oldest welterweight champion of all time at nearly 41.
His retirement from boxing followed a disheartening defeat to Yordenis Ugas 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 is now regarded as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time and is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades.
“Boxing has always been my passion. I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame and honor to my country every time I entered the ring. I am grateful for all my accomplishments and the opportunity to inspire the fans.
“To the boxing fans all over the world, thank you very much. Thank you for always praying for me and watching my fights through the years. Who would have thought that Manny Pacquiao would end up with 12 major world titles across eight weight divisions? Even me, I’m amazed at what I have done, hold the record of being the only boxer to hold world titles in four different decades and become the old fighter to win a welterweight world title.”
Pacquiao was named fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America twice.
Pacquiao entered politics in 2010 when he won a seat in the lower house of the Philippines congress, before being elected for a six-year term in the upper chamber in 2016.
Pacquiao announced September 19 that he accepted the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party’s nomination in his home country’s upcoming presidential election.
There will never be another Manny Pacquiao. Thank you Manny!
~ The Fighting Voice ~