Manny Pacquiao, an exemplary professional who excelled in the squared circle and represented the sport with dignity and decency while campaigning from 1995 onward, has announced he is retiring from the ring wars.
He is 42 years old. He turns 43 in December, and in his last fight, against Yordenis Ugas on Aug. 21, Pac-Man seemingly realized age isn’t just a number, even for somebody built really different, someone whose talent paired with his fighting spirit and ambition melded to manufacture one of the brightest stars pugilism has known in the modern era.
More important to me than his 12 world titles over a record eight weight divisions was his willingness to take on stern challenges with gusto.
In 2019, Manny, at age 40, became the oldest man to win a welterweight title, when he performed marvelously against younger gun Keith Thurman.
Here is the video announcing his retirement. “Even me, I’m amazed at what I’ve done,” the icon stated, in English, during the address.
Manny posted it on his Facebook page during the early afternoon in the Philippines, after midnight on the East Coast of America.
It was no secret that he was considering a run at the highest office in his native land, a leap from Senator to President. This move is a concession that trying to juggle a ring life and a political campaign of that import wouldn’t be prudent.
Some of the NYF Squad shared their thoughts on the announcement, and the impact the 5-5 dervish had upon the game:
“Manny Pacquiao officially retired from the sport of boxing and it's time that we appropriately celebrate his career,” said Abe Gonzalez. “His was a career full of success which brought him multiple titles in different weight classes. As I have said in recent years, Manny is the Muhammad Ali of our time. Ironically enough, there was another Ali documentary that premiered a few days ago that was reviewed by NyFights' own David Phillips. Although their fights outside of the ring were two very different battles, it was the impact that both men had in society which makes them similar. Manny is a fighter that can go anywhere in the world and he would be spotted out of any crowd. Pacquiao has also used his superstar status as a fighter to find his way into a position where he could influence change and that started as being a Senator. The fact that he is running for President tells you that his book isn’t finished when it comes to how much more he can do for the people of the Philippines. His in-ring accomplishments are well known but the combination of that and his impact on the Filipino society is what puts him in a legendary category. So to Manny Pacquiao, congrats on your retirement and best of luck with the Presidential race.”
“There are times when people use the phrase “end of an era,” to describe someone's departure and it feels forced,” said David Phillips. “Not here. For more than a decade and a half, he sat at or near the top of the boxing world. His undefeated run from 2005 to 2011 is nothing less than extraordinary. He jumped countless weight classes, fought just about everyone, and at his best, no one was more fun to watch. There was a real joy in seeing Pacquiao take down bigger men methodically, but oh so unconventionally. He was the rare small (practically tiny) man whose power moved up in class, and his always moving, “hits keep coming at you” in all directions style was truly a wonder to behold. He leaves the boxing world not owing the sport or its fans a damn thing. Manny's next contest won't be in the ring, but in the political arena. Pac is already a senator in his native country The Philippines, and next year he will run for president. I hope if he wins (which seems pretty likely) he's able to serve his people as well as he did his fans. I'm also hoping his evolution as a person comes with an acceptance of equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Fingers crossed.”
“There are levels to this! That’s a popular saying in the sports community to denote degrees of separation when describing what sets one athlete apart from another,” said Jacob Rodriguez. “Manny Pacquiao sits on a level that few athletes can ever hope to achieve. There are very few athletes whose popularity transcends well past their generation. In boxing, even fewer fighters fit this category. Jack Johnson broke the color barrier in boxing when he became the first black heavyweight champion of the world, making him both a beloved and hated figure in America. Joe Louis' dismantling of Max Schmeling proved to the world that Hitler's “Aryan” race was not the world's superior human being and catapulted Louis into global superstardom. And to this day, Muhammad Ali's character and image serve as a symbol of courage, strength, and sacrifice all across the world. Upon announcing his retirement, Manny Pacquiao has placed himself amongst this elite category of fighters. Manny has contributed most of his time away from boxing and wealth to help the people of his native home. His philanthropy, kindness, and humility make him relatable to the everyday person. For the Filipinos, he is their hero and symbol of hope for a better life. General Geroge Patton said, “I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.” This quote embodies everything Manny Pacquiao was as a fighter. He fought who was in front of him and won 62 of 72 battles. Manny was unafraid of rematches and unafraid to fight the best. Probably the last fighter of an era where being the best fighter was the only thing that mattered. He always handled himself with class and never let others dictate his character. He was one of a kind. Manny was the perfect blend of savagery and humanity who will now take his seat at the round table of eternal champions.”
We salute Manny, and I personally ask his forgiveness, for now and again misspelling his last name, which will forever be revered within the fight game fraternity.
We also hope that he is able to continue to serve the Philippines as a humble servant, who will be able to uplift that nation, and help its citizens enjoy an era of prosperity, spiritually and economically, as he’s promised.
Thank you for your service to the sport, Manny.