Manny Pacquiao defeated rival boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. in Las Vegas on Saturday night, in what the star has called the final fight of his career.
Pacquiao, who is Filipino, won the welterweight fight by unanimous decision from the judges. The fight at the MGM Grand was Pacquiao’s first since his loss to Floyd Mayweather last May in what had been dubbed the “fight of the century.”
“Pacquiao may be hanging up his boxing gloves, but don’t count on him going out quietly,” the MGM Grand said to promote the fight.
As The New York Times reports, it had been clear Pacquiao’s career was “winding down.” But, “as he stepped into the ring on Saturday night for a third fight against Timothy Bradley Jr., he was determined to show that he was not leaving because his skills had diminished. He wanted to win convincingly, he said.”
And he did; all three judges scored the match 116-110.
“As of now I am retired,” Pacquiao said, according to ESPN. “I am going to go home and think about it, but I want to be with my family. I want to serve the people [of the Philippines].”
“I have a commitment to my family that I’m going to retire after this, and we don’t know,” Pacquiao told ringside reporters, according to Reuters. “If you ask me about if I’m coming back, maybe I enjoy by being retired and serving and helping the people.”
These comments, while clearly saying that he is retiring, also make clear he’ll be continuing to think about whether to stay retired.
ESPN adds that Pacquiao, a politician in the Philippines, “is a two-term congressman running for a senate seat.” That election is next month.
“Should he win — and he is one of the favorites — it would be almost impossible to remain an active fighter,” the AP reports.
Pacquiao has fiercely loyal fans. “The story of Manny Pacquiao growing up as a poor Filipino kid and making it out of the slums resonates with a lot of Filipinos,” Denise Guerra reported on Morning Edition last year. “He’s become a symbol of hope and resilience for Filipinos throughout the world.”
A 2015 New Yorker profile of the “fight of the century” contenders said “Pacquiao … rededicated himself to Christianity in 2011, and since then his public statements have been full of paeans to faith and humility; he said he was praying for Mayweather, whom he considered his ‘brother in Christ.’ “
Pacquiao has also compared homosexuals to animals — which, as we reported, led Nike to terminate its dealings with him earlier this year.