By Roy Luarca in Manila
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is leaving the sport that propelled him to stardom as he seeks the Philippine presidency in 2022
He is no longer fighting in the ring.
“My boxing career? My boxing career is already over,” Senator Pacquiao told actress Toni Gonzaga in Filipino on her YouTube programme Toni Talks at the weekend.
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“It’s done because I’ve been in boxing for a long time and my family says that it is enough. I just continued [to box] because I’m passionate about this sport.
Pacquiao, who declared he is running for the Philippines presidency under the PDP-Laban faction of his and fellow Senator Koko Pimentel on Sunday, made it clear, however, that he was not leaving boxing altogether.
“I will just support other boxers for us to have a champion again.”
Pacquiao, boxing’s lone eight-division world champion, has long been helping Filipino boxers by way of his MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions headed by Sean Gibbons.
Already in the MP stable are World Boxing Organisation bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero and International Boxing Federation super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas.
Also in the fold is unbeaten featherweight Mark Magsayo, Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, and world title contender Jonas Sultan.
Last Sunday, the boxing champ-turned-politician said he would be running for presidency on an anti-corruption platform.
“Panahon na upang manalo naman ang mga naaapi. Panahon na para makabangon ang bayan natin na lugmok sa kahirap. Panahon na nang isang malinis na gobyerno na kung saan ang bawat sentimo ay mapupunta sa bawat Pilipino,” said Pacquiao.
(I accept your nomination as the candidate for president of the Republic of the Philippines. It is now the time for the oppressed to win. It is now the time for our nation to rise from poverty. It is now the time for a clean government where every centavo goes to Filipinos.)
In a Pulse Asia survey conducted in June, Pacquiao ranked 5th among preferred presidential candidates for the 2022 elections. He was far behind top choices Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.