Professional boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao announced that he is putting his name on the ballot in the upcoming 2022 Philippines presidential election.
The welterweight boxing champion made the announcement Sunday during the national assembly of the PDP-Laban Party.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” Pacquiao declared in a live-streamed speech during the assembly. “I am accepting your nomination as candidate for president of the Republic of the Philippines.”
The 42-year-old outspoken Christian is currently a senator and has served in the Philippines’ Congress since 2016.
“Today, I boldly accept the challenge of running as PRESIDENT of the Republic of the Philippines, with a message to those who are taking advantage of the Filipino people: YOUR TIME IS UP!” the boxer wrote on Instagram.
“I AM A FIGHTER. In my whole life, I have never fought back. The Manny Pacquiao you know as the national fist, is no different than the Manny Pacquiao who is with you against poverty and corruption. More than self– town must come first.”
Pacquiao spoke directly to the Filipino people.
“I feel how you feel,” he wrote in Tagalog. “I know the hardship you are going through and I know you are exhausted. Compatriots, we need progress. We need to win against poverty."
"We need government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency," he added. "The time is now. We are ready to rise to the challenge of leadership. It is time for the oppressed to win. It is time for our people who have fallen into poverty to recover. It is time for a clean government, where every cent will go for every Filipino.”
In his post, Pacquiao noted that "even the impossible can happen if it is ordained by the Lord."
"Nothing is impossible if it is ordained by our Lord," he assured.
Pacquiao's boxing career has given him great popularity in the Pacific archipelagic country. His run for president may be what solidifies the speculation that he will retire from boxing. The athlete would finish his career with a 62-8-2 record. He is the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions.
He has had some bumps in his political career. In his initial senate bid in 2016, Pacquiao apologized for calling people in gay relationships "worse than animals." However, he stood behind his stance against gay marriage due to his Christian faith.
"I still stand on my belief that I'm against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT," he stated. "I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you."
Another instance that made headlines was Pacquiao’s criticism of current President Rodrigo Duterte and his relationship with China. In July, the boxing icon slammed Duterte for allowing China to intrude into the Philippines’ waters in the South China Sea.