Manny Pacquiao retires: Former eight-division champion walks away from boxing at 42 years old


Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino icon who is the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions, officially announced his retirement at age 42, in order to focus full-time on politics.  

In a 14-minute, 20-second video that was posted to his verified Facebook account on Tuesday night, Pacquiao said: “I am announcing my retirement. Goodbye, boxing.”

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.

— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) September 29, 2021

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs), who has served as a senator in his native Philippines since 2016, announced last week his candidacy for president in 2022. The “PacMan” last fought in August when he ended a two-year layoff in a decision loss to late replacement and WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas in their pay-per-view bout.  

The announcement, which was delivered by Pacquiao at a press conference Wednesday morning from the Philippines, brought to an end a legendary 26-year pro career that began in 1995 when a 16-year-old Pacquiao turned pro at 106 pounds. The lightning-quick southpaw would eventually take his talents to the U.S. for the first time in 2011 when, after joining forces with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao upset Lehlo Ledwaba via sixth-round TKO for the IBF junior featherweight title as a late replacement in Las Vegas.

It wouldn’t take long for Pacquiao to become an overnight sensation in boxing circles thanks to his explosive style. Despite steadily moving up in weight, Pacquiao remarkably carried his speed and power with him to co-author a number of instant classics in the coming years against Hall of Famers Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez.  

Even though Pacquiao had become a burgeoning PPV brand along the way, it wasn’t until he moved up even higher in 2008 to challenge Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight that he became a household name and global star. Pacquiao scored a major upset in sending De La Hoya to retirement via TKO and followed up with stoppage wins over Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.  

Soon, the drumbeat began to intensify for a superfight pairing Pacquiao against unbeaten pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. A five-plus year courtship would follow — in which Pacquiao won a world title as high as junior middleweight — until the two took part in the richest fight in boxing history in 2015, which Mayweather won by decision.  

The final stretch of Pacquiao’s career would see him split time between boxing and public service while using his fame to give back through numerous philanthropic endeavors. Age didn’t stop Pacquiao from scoring big victories, however, as his “twilight” produced PPV wins over the likes of Timothy Bradley Jr., Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and, at the age of 40, a close decision win over unbeaten Keith Thurman to regain a piece of the welterweight title.  


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