After much speculation, Manny Pacquiao is saying goodbye to boxing.
Pacquiao, the boxing superstar who plans to run for President of the Philippines in the 2022 elections, announced his retirement from the sport on Wednesday in order to focus on the biggest fight of his political career.
The news came nearly two weeks after he announced his candidacy for president, a prospect that had been looming for years for the many-time world champion fighter who began his public service career as a Sarangani congressman in 2010.
"It's difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today, I'm announcing my retirement," ABS-CBN News quoted Pacquiao as saying.
"I never thought this day would come. As I hang up my boxing gloves, I'd like to thank the whole world especially the Filipino people for supporting me."
"Goodbye boxing, thank you for changing my life," Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao was largely recognized as one of the best offensive fighters in boxing history, thanks to his quick movement and lightning-fast punches.
Pacquiao was defeated by Cuban Yordenis Ugas in August in Las Vegas, in what turned out to be his final fight.
Despite the heartbreaking defeat, Pacquiao's position as one of the greatest boxers of all time has been solidified.
Pacquiao, an electrifying figure and ring dynamo never seen before at his size, exits his sport with a long record of accomplishments that ensures him a place in Canastota's Hall of Fame many times over.
Pacquiao's rags-to-riches narrative and famous career -- he is the only fighter in history to win titles in eight different weight classes -- have given respect to his Southeast Asian homeland, earning him the nicknames Pacman, People's Champ, and "Pambansang Kamao" (National Fist).
In 1998, three years after making his debut as a scrawny 16-year-old, he won his first world title as a flyweight.
Pacquiao made his American debut as a substitute fighter in 2001, defeating the much favored Lehlo Ledwaba to capture the IBF super bantamweight title.
Pacquiao reportedly made almost $220 million in boxing earnings, making Forbes' annual list of wealthiest athletes every year.
Not bad for a kid who started out as a pandesal (local bread) vendor and grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet.