Boxing great Manny Pacquiao has announced he will will run for president of the Philippines in 2022.
Having done it all in the boxing ring, the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions has now set his sights on succeeding in the political arena. He has been a senator since 2016 and also served as a congressman.
A faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party nominated Pacquiao on Sunday during its national convention.
“I’m a fighter and will always be a fighter, inside and outside of the ring,” Pacquiao said at the event. “All my life, I haven’t backed down from any fight. Nothing is impossible if it’s ordained by God.”
Pacquiao has been highlighting alleged corruption in the administration and is seen as a threat to President Rodrigo Duterte’s candidate in 2022. Pacquiao was ranked fifth among 15 possible presidential candidates in a June survey.
The Filipino boxer was once a close ally to Duterte. However, recently Pacquiao criticised the administration for alleged corruption and the country's stance on the South China Sea issue.
“We need progress, we need to win against poverty, we need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency,” Pacquiao said. “We are fed up with the promises of change.”
Pacquiao, an all-time great boxer, was among the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2019, according to Forbes. However, in his latest bout last month, Pacquiao, 42, lost to Cuban fighter Yordenis Ugas. He later apologised to fans for the defeat.
“I don't know,” Pacquiao said when asked if he was going to retire after the defeat to Uas. “I need to relax and make a decision [about his future].
“I'm so thankful to the fans, for coming here to witness the fight. I'm really, really appreciative of your effort to come here, in spite of the pandemic. I'm sorry that we lost tonight, but you know, I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough. I apologise."