Manny Pacquiao calls it a career after 26 years

Manny Pacquiao (AFP)

It’s official. Manny Pacquiao is done with boxing.

Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion who built a legendary career with his "never say die" attitude that mesmerized fans from around the globe, bid the sport farewell after 26 years as a professional boxer.

He last fought Yordenis Ugas of Cuba, which ended with a unanimous decision defeat last August 21 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. At 42-year-old, Pacquiao had a ring record of 62 wins, eight losses and two draws with 39 KOs.

In a 14-minute video posted Wednesday, Sept. 29, Pacquiao said it was time for him to go.

“It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over,” said Pacquiao.

“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 and especially the Filipino people for supporting Manny Pacquiao.”

“Good bye boxing. I just heard the final bell... tapos na ang boxing.”

The native of General Santos City previously mentioned his plans to retire, which Manila Bulletin first reported following an interview with TV host Toni Gonzaga two weeks ago.

Pacquiao, a Philippine senator who recently announced his plans to seek the presidency in the 2022 elections, is an icon in the boxing world where he is known as the ‘Pacman’ – a moniker he earned when he started fighting in the US in 2001, some six years after his first pro bout in 1995 at age 16.

The lightning-quick southpaw would team up with legendary Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and it immediately paid dividends as Pacquiao scored a stunning win against Lehlo Ledwaba via a sixth-round TKO for the IBF junior featherweight title.

That Pacquiao-Roach tandem would produce several more memorable fights, including those against Mexicans Marco Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales and bitter rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao also fought bigger opponents in Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico, Mexico’s Antonio Margarito, Ricky Hatton of United Kingdom, Joshua Clottey of Ghana and Americans Timothy Bradley Jr., Shane Moseley and the legendary ‘Golden Boy’ Oscar de la Hoya.

Of course, there was that biggest and lucrative fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in May of 2015.

With all these fights, Pacquiao can’t help but to look back and thank the people that guided him – especially when he was just starting his career.

“Boxing has always been my passion, I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame, honor to my country every time I entered the ring. I am grateful for all my accomplishments and the opportunity to inspire the fans,” said Pacquiao.

In particular, Pacquiao thanked his former manager, the late Rod Nazario, and also Roach.

“He (Nazario) brought me to the United States 20 years ago and arranged my introduction to my trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym. Freddie was not only my trainer, but also my family, a brother and a friend,” he said.

He also acknowledged longtime coach Buboy Fernandez, as well as boxing promoters Bob Arum of Top Rank, Al Heymon of Premier Boxing Championship and Sean Gibbons, who heads his boxing outfit MP Promotions.

Known as a religious person as he and wife Jinkee – with their five children – proclaim God’s words, Pacquiao said, “Without him I am nothing”.

“I give all glory to God, who made it happen.”