Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao officially declared his retirement from the fabled sport that changed his life and the lives of others.
“I just heard the final bell,” Pacquiao said in a video message that was released yesterday morning. “It’s difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today, I am announcing my retirement.”
Pacquiao’s declaration didn’t actually come as a surprise as he had been hinting at retirement following his stunning 12-round decision loss to Yordenis Ugas of Cuba last month in Las Vegas.
His decision to officially call it quits came ten days after announcing that he was gunning for the Presidency next year.
Pacquiao, 42, began his farewell address by citing the contributions of countless personages when he was an unknown commodity in the sport, rattling off the names of individuals many of whom have gone ahead.
Getting premium mentions were the late Malabon construction magnate Polding Correa, Rod Nazario, Lito Mondejar and early trainers Leonardo Pablo, Baby Tinagsa, Mario Sumalinog and American Rick Staheli as well official representatives Mike Koncz and Sean Gibbons and promoters Bob Arum and Al Haymon.
But he made particular mention of Nazario, who was instrumental in bringing him to the States in 2001, a move that paved the way for Pacquiao’s foray into the mainstream and eventually into becoming the face of the sport.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach likewise was the recipient of praise from Pacquiao, who endearingly called him “a brother and a friend” while also putting his childhood pal Buboy Fernandez on a pedestal.
“He is more than a coach to me,” Pacquiao said, stressing that they have known each other practically their whole lives.
Not escaping Pacquiao’s rave reviews were his former trainers,
Pacquiao started out professionally in 1995 after a lackluster amateur career that was highlighted by a snub by the lords of amateur boxing, which the eight-division champion said turned him down as he had no potential.
In 1998, Pacquiao knocked out huge favorite Chatchai Sasakul of Thailand to win his first world title, the World Boxing Council flyweight crown.
After losing the World Boxing Council 112-lb plum on the scales, Pacquiao moved up in weight and campaigned in the super-bantamweight class of 122 lbs.
As he was beating up the best available rivals from Asia, Pacquiao flew to America by Nazario and then made his US debut underneath an Oscar De La Hoya headliner at the MGM Grand.
A key victory over Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003 further boosted his stock and beginning in 2004 until 2012, he was virtually boxing’s most recognizable name on the strength of his huge victories over a bevy of marquee names.
During this period, he fought Juan Manuel Marquez four times (winning twice, losing once and drawing once), beat Erik Morales two times out of three bouts, stopped Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, outpointed Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito en route to adding five world titles along the way.
The crowning glory was the beating he administered on De La Hoya, who was forced to retire after quitting on his stool after eight rounds of constant pounding from Pacquiao’s fast and furious fists.
Twice, Pacquiao traveled to Macau to strut his stuff, winning against Brandon Rios in 2013 and Chris Algieri in 2014.
In 2015, Pacquiao faced Floyd Mayweather in the biggest fight in the history of sport as the matchup generated an eye-popping $600 million in revenue.
Two years later, Pacquiao would suffer a shock loss in Brisbane, Australia but he would rebound a year later by winning the world welterweight crown by halting Argentine Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur.
Before losing to Ugas last month, Pacquiao had been inactive for over two years with the split decision over Keith Thurman in July 2019 as his previous outing.