"I really appreciate what you have done. Thank you all of you. Thank you, boxing." – Manny Pacquiao
After more than 25 years in professional boxing, it looks like Manny Pacquiao is ready to hang up his gloves.
This is after the 42-year-old boxing legend lost via unanimous decision while trying to recapture the super WBA welterweight crown from a younger and taller Yordenis Ugas of Cuba.
"I did my best tonight, but my best wasn't enough," said Pacquiao, the only boxer to win 8 titles in as many weight classes, during the post-fight press conference. "I wanted to fight for the title in the ring and tonight the champion is Ugas."
Inside the ring immediately after the fight, Pacquiao said he wasn't leaning toward a decision as far his future was concerned, adding that he'll come to a decision next month.
But he was more reflective in the post-fight press conference, reading what looked like a prepared statement on a computer tablet.
While his answer to retirement questions remained open-ended, he sounded as if he's saying goodbye to a sport he dominated for decades.
Pacquiao, who started fighting professionally as a flyweight in 1995, said he is happy for what he has done in boxing.
"In the future, you might not see Manny Pacquiao again to fight in the ring. I don't know. But for how many decades, I'm so happy for what I've done in boxing . . . I brought honor to the Filipino people and so proud to be a Filipino," Pacquiao added.
Pacquiao said he still loves to fight, but acknowledged he has to consider a lot of things before returning to the squared circle again.
This includes, of course, his political plans as he is rumored to be planning to run as president in 2022.
"In my heart I want to continue, but the thing is I have to consider my body, my work back in the Philippines. There's a lot of things I need to accomplish and help people. I want to be an inspiration to the Filipino people inside and outside the ring," he said.
Pacquiao congratulated Ugas for winning the title. He said he would have given the taller Cuban a better fight if not for the leg cramps he suffered in the second round.
"My mind is 100 percent but my legs are cramping. I think because we did a lot in training," he said. "I've been running in the mountains and did 32 rounds everyday. I'm not young anymore."
Pacquiao is one of the Philippines most cherished sports icons.
He made history by being the first boxer ever to win world titles in eight weight divisions, having won twelve major world titles, as well as being the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes.
Along the way, he beat some of the biggest names in boxing including Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.
But Pacquiao said this time, he wants to concentrate in public service.
"It might be finished with my career in boxing, but this is my statement to all boxing fans: We entertain people, we entertain in the ring but the most important thing is what we have done to others, how we can help them."
"Thank you to all of you, the press, media, the fans, the promoters, for always giving us a chance. I really appreciate what you have done. Thank you all of you. Thank you, boxing," said Manny Pacquiao in a press conference after his defeat to Yordenis Ugas at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 21, 2021.
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