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Manny Pacquiao retires from boxing ahead Philippine presidential election

By News Desk

Philippine boxing legend and 2022 presidential hopeful, Manny Pacquiao, has announced his retirement from boxing and that he would be hanging up his gloves after a glittering decades-long career in the ring.

His decision was coming weeks after Pacquiao, considered one of the best boxers of all time, lost what turned out to be his last professional fight, against Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, who entered politics in 2010 as a congressman before being elected to the Senate, said last week that he would make a tilt for the country’s highest office.

The multi-division world champion and senator, who has his sights set on a high-stakes rumble to replace President Rodrigo Duterte, said quitting the sport that lifted him out of poverty was the “hardest decision” of his life.

“It is difficult for me to accept that my time for me as a boxer is over,” the 42-year-old said in a video message posted on his social media page on Wednesday that quickly went viral.

“Today I am announcing my retirement,” added Pacquiao, whose fights during his heyday stopped traffic in the Philippines — and even supposedly crime.

In the video message, Pacquiao said that boxing had given him “the chance to fight my way out of poverty” and “the courage to change more lives”.

“I will never forget what I have done and accomplished in my life. I can’t imagine I just heard the final bell,” said Pacquiao, who retired briefly in 2016 before reversing the decision.

Pacquiao, a married father of five, thanked his millions of fans around the world and paid special tribute to his long-time trainer, Freddie Roach, who he described as “my family, a brother and a friend”.

The decision ends weeks of speculation that Pacquiao was planning to retire after 26 years as a professional boxer. He ended with a 62-8 win-loss record and two draws.

“He’s gonna go down as a legend of not just boxing but of the sporting world,” Ted Lerner, a US-born sports journalist in the Philippines, said.

“In the future… his name will be sort of synonymous with greatness, in the level of Michael Jordan or people who have transcended their sport and become like mythical legends.”

Pacquiao is idolised by many in the Philippines both for his punching power and rise from desperate street kid to the peak of boxing. He dropped out of high school at 14, sold doughnuts on the roadside and became a grocery stacker to help his mother support two younger siblings.

Within a few years, the diminutive southpaw was a pro boxer destined for the big time. News of his retirement was greeted with mixed feelings in his southern hometown of General Santos, where support for the boxer runs deep.

As he prepares to register as a presidential candidate, Pacquiao has vowed to tackle poverty and corruption in a bid to win over voters with his rags-to-riches story. After two terms as a congressman and one as a senator, Pacquiao’s ambition was not unrealistic in a country famed for its celebrity-obsessed politics. But victory is far from assured.

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