MANILA, Philippines -- Tributes poured in for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday after he officially announced his retirement from the sport, wrapping up a career that spanned over two decades.
Pacquiao, who is running for president in next year's national elections, announced in an emotional video that he has "heard the final bell."
"Tapos na ang boxing," he said.
His announcement was met by praise and congratulations by those who had covered his boxing career as well as his fellow boxers, who lauded him as one of the greatest to have ever stepped foot inside the ring.
"An honor to have covered his career," said former ESPN writer Dan Rafael.
Steve Kim, another boxing writer, noted that Pacquiao will walk away from the sport "with dignity."
"I don't think I've seen a fighter who meant as much to his country and people as 'the Pac Man'," said Kim.
ESPN writer Mike Coppinger called Pacquiao "truly one of the all-time greats."
Former boxer Sergio Mora said it was the honor of his career to have fought in the same undercard as Pacquiao, all the way back in 2003.
Unbeaten boxer Ryan Garcia, who for a while was linked to a potential Pacquiao bout, thanked the "Pacman" for being his inspiration.
His final opponent, Yordenis Ugas, also paid tribute.
With his boxing career in the rearview, Pacquiao will pour his energies into his presidential campaign. He announced two weeks ago that he was running for president, a prospect that had loomed for years for the many-time world champion fighter who transitioned into public service starting in 2010 as Sarangani congressman.
Although previously aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte under the ruling PDP-Laban Party, Pacquiao and his followers, including Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, son of one of the party's founders, have formed their own faction to rival that of Duterte's.
"I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," Pacquiao said after accepting nominations from around 20 PDP-Laban chapter leaders last Sept. 19 at their national assembly in Quezon City.