Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, a 12-time world champion, has announced his retirement from the sport.
The 42-year-old called time on a decorated career and has turned his attention to a presidential run in his native Philippines.
Known as PacMan, he won his first major title at 19 when he took the WBC flyweight strap and in a professional career which spanned 26 years, he became the first octuple champion having won in eight different weight divisions.
In a social media post announcing the news, he said: “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.”
The southpaw had his first professional bout aged 16 and finishes with a 62-8-2 record, with 39 wins coming by knockout.
His most recent bout was a hastily-convened fight against Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Nevada in August, which he lost by unanimous decision.
Pacquiao announced a run for the Philippine House of Representatives in 2007 but was knocked back at the polls, eventually winning at the ballot box in 2010.
He became a senator in 2015 and announced a bid to become president earlier this month.
In the video posted online, he said: “Boxing has always been my passion, I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame and honour to my country every time I entered the ring.
“I am grateful for all my accomplishments and opportunity to inspire the fans.
“Who would have thought that Manny Pacquiao would end up with 12 major world titles in eight different weight divisions? Even me I’m amazed at what I have done.
“Today, I am announcing my retirement. I never thought that this day would come. As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao.
“Goodbye boxing. 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.”
Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches life story and legendary career brought honour to his Southeast Asian nation, where he is also known by the monikers People’s Champ and National Fist.
He left his impoverished home in the southern Philippines as a teenager and stowed away on a ship bound for Manila. He made his professional boxing debut as a junior flyweight in 1995, at the age of 16, fighting his way out of abject poverty to become one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
Eddie Banaag, a 79-year-old retiree, said Pacquiao was his idol as a boxer and he watched almost all of his fights. But he believes the boxing icon should have retired earlier.
“He should have done that right after his victory over (Keith) Thurman,” Banaag said of Pacquiao's win over Thurman on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Pacquiao's second-last fight. “It would have been better if he ended his boxing career with a win rather than a loss.”