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MMA, too, hails Pacquiao’s legendary career

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Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has called it a career in boxing but what he has done will live on not only for fellow boxers and fans but also among other athletes and organizations outside of the sport, including those from mixed martial arts (MMA).

The only boxer in history to be world champion in eight weight divisions, Mr. Pacquiao, 42, formally announced his retirement on Sept. 29 in a video post with a title “Goodbye boxing” on his verified Facebook account.

It effectively dropped the curtain on a legendary boxing career spanning nearly three decades while also setting him up to seek other pursuits, including vying for the presidency of the republic in next year’s national elections.

While Mr. Pacquiao has hung up his gloves, his legacy in combat sports in general is not lost to stakeholders who hail his go-getting mind-set to go for his dreams and succeed and being an inspiration to those who went after him in going for a career as a fighter.

“Thank you for hoisting our flag in the global arena of boxing. Thank you for being an inspiration not only in the sports scene but in every soul that dreams to be someone and something in a world where achieving is almost impossible,” wrote Team Lakay coach and founder Mark Sangiao in a Facebook post.

“Thank you for giving your all, for being the great Pacquiao we know,” he added.

Team Lakay has followed in the footsteps of Mr. Pacquiao in showcasing what Filipino combat sports athletes can do on the world stage, producing MMA champions in different international organizations like Singapore-based ONE Championship.

One of them is Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, a former two-time ONE world lightweight champion, who was inspired by the journey that Mr. Pacquiao took.

Mr. Folayang, in a social media post, underscored that despite “all the murky and uncertainty” that Pacman had in the past he was able to reap “sweet triumphs” through hard work and sacrifice.

For Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation, the manner with which Mr. Pacquiao achieved great success is to be celebrated.

“Manny Pacquiao is a legend of combat sports, not just in the Philippines, but worldwide. He has proven that a young kid full of dreams, talent, and perseverance can overcome adversities and march towards world titles, glory, and legendary status,” said Brave CF President Mohammed Shahid.

Adding, “We, at BRAVE Combat Federation, are working hard to make sure that Pacquiao’s story is not an isolated incident in the sport anymore. Manny will serve as an inspiration to many, many future world-class athletes from all around the world and all walks of life.”

“Happy retirement, my idol,” said Brave lightweight contender Rolando “The Incredible” Dy, son of another Filipino boxing star, Rolando Navarette.

“Thank you for paving the way for all of us. You are a true icon of combat sports. I will forever be grateful for the inspiration you’ve given us.”

Apart from being boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Mr. Pacquiao, a native General Santos City, exited the game with a record of 62-8-2 with 39 knockouts. He is a 13-time world champion, three-time fighter of the year, hailed as 2000s’ Fighter of the Decade, and holds the record of being the only boxer to win world titles in four different decades. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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