Manny Pacquiao’s days in the boxing ring are over.
After an incredible 26-year career spanning from 108 lbs up to 154 lbs, the only eight-division world champion in the sport’s history has announced his retirement from the sport. This does coincide with his attempt to run for president of The Philippines but nevertheless is something that had to come sooner or later.
“I’m amazed at what I have done,” the 42-year-old Pacquiao said in his retirement video. “Hold the record of being the only boxer to hold world titles in four different decades and become the oldest fighter to win a world welterweight title, amazing accomplishment that I never thought I would accomplish.”
“Goodbye, boxing,” he concluded. “Thank you for changing my life. When my family was desperate, you gave us hope. You gave me the chance to fight our way out of poverty. 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. I will never forget what I have done and accomplished in my life. I just heard the final bell.”
Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) lost his final fight last month to Yordenis Ugas by unanimous decision in Las Vegas. He was supposed to take on Errol Spence Jr before Spence withdrew with a retinal tear, and I think it’s safe to say it’s better that the Spence fight never did materialize.
You have to go way back to 1998 for the first of Manny’s numerous major world championships. He knocked out Chatchai Sasakul to become WBC flyweight (112 lbs) champion. Pacquiao wouldn’t make his United States debut until 2001, when he knocked out Lehlohonolo Ledwaba on the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Javier Castillejo undercard. The real eyebrow raising moment occurred in 2003 when he stopped the great Marco Antonio Barrera in Texas. His very next fight was his first classic with Juan Manuel Marquez, who overcame three knockdowns in the opening round to salvage a draw.
By now you know of his trilogies with Erik Morales and Timothy Bradley, the four-fight series with Marquez, his rematch with Barrera, retirement of De La Hoya, KOs of Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, demolishing of Antonio Margarito (to win the WBC’s 154 lbs title), and so on and so forth. He finally did fight Floyd Mayweather in 2015 and lost a decision in what remains the richest bout in boxing history.
Pacquiao’s final win was a July 2019 split decision over Keith Thurman, which saw Thurman dropped in the opening round and hurt again to the body later in the fight. He took Thurman’s undefeated record and his WBA welterweight crown.
Manny’s place in boxing history is etched in stone. He is one of the greatest of all-time and will be in the sport’s Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible in 2024 (unless he unretires... which is a thing we see happen all the time). It really has been a privilege watching Pacquiao compete and he has given so much to the sport that we should cherish.