Manny Pacquiao Is Running for President of the Philippines: 'A Fighter Inside and Outside the Ring'

"We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency," the boxing legend said in a speech delivered Sunday

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Paquiao. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty

Weeks after hinting that he was mulling a retirement from the ring, legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao is gearing up for another sort of fight — announcing on Sunday that he'll run for president of his home country, the Philippines.

Pacquiao, 42, will run as a member of the PDP-Laban party, accepting the party's nomination at its national convention on Sunday.

"I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," Pacquiao said in his speech, according to CBS News.

Elsewhere in his speech, Pacquiao said: "We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency."

The boxing legend will run to replace Rodrigo Duterte, an extremely controversial leader whose early years as president were defined by his harsh anti-drug crusade (in which he endorsed the extra-judicial killings of drug traffickers and suspects and once said he would be "happy to slaughter" suspects).

The International Criminal Court announced last week it planned to investigate the drug crackdown in the Philippines, which has left thousands dead.

Earlier this month, Duterte — who is term-limited from running again — was nominated to be a vice presidential candidate under his former aide, Sen. Bong Go.

NPR reports that Go has declined to run for president, but Duterte accepted the vice presidential nomination.

Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, made headlines in August when he made a return to the ring following a two-year absence, facing off against Yordenis Ugás.

He lost that match, however, openly musing about retirement after being bested by Ugás.

"This sport is my passion," Pacquiao told reporters following his loss, the Associated Press reported. "That's why I'm still here fighting at the age of 42. I'm enjoying it, but sometimes you have to think about the response of your body. ... My mind, my heart, it's 100 percent. But my legs were cramping."

He suggested then that while boxing remained important, he felt there were other matters to consider: "In my heart, I want to continue to fight. But the thing is, I also have to consider my body. I've put it through a lot of things. Especially back in my country, there's a lot of things that I need to accomplish to help people. I want to be an inspiration to the Philippine people inside and outside the ring."

Pacquiao — who The Chicago Tribune reports was at one time the country's biggest individual taxpayer — has served as a Philippine congressman since 2010, though critics argue he has done little in terms of on-the-ground political work, such as passing bills or speaking one-on-one with constituents.

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