Bob Arum Compares Manny Pacquiao to Muhammad Ali After Pac-Man Retirement

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2021

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, speaks at a news conference after his loss to Yordenis Ugas, of Cuba, in a welterweight championship boxing match Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Manny Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, retired from boxing in a video statement on Tuesday evening. Since then, he's received an outpouring of support from the boxing world, including legendary promoter Bob Arum. The Top Rank chairman went as far as comparing Pacquiao to another all-time great, Muhammad Ali, but not necessarily for his in-ring accomplishments. 

"What a wonderful, caring human being he is. It's almost like [Muhammad] Ali," Arum said, per WorldBoxingNet.com's Dan Rafael. "When people talk to me about Ali, they talk about his speed, and this and that, and I really begin to tune them out. For me, Ali means so much more. Same thing with Pacquiao. I don't want to demean what he accomplished in the ring because it was great, but for me, that's already faded away."

Arum knows both fighters well. He promoted Ali's heavyweight title defense in 1966 and partnered with "The Greatest" for years after that. Arum also promoted more than a dozen of Pacquiao's fights starting in 2015, per Rafael.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Pacquiao, 42, is ramping up his political career in the wake of his retirement from boxing, which came weeks after his final fight, a loss to Yordenis Ugas on Aug. 22. He's been a senator in his native Philippines since 2016, and on Thursday he officially filed his candidacy to run for president of the country, per Reuters' Karen Lema

Arum cited Pacquiao's presidential aspirations and the money he says he's donated throughout his career when comparing him to Ali, saying "nobody else comes close" as a humanitarian and that Pacquiao has a "burning desire to do well for his people," per Rafael. 

As a candidate, Pacquiao has promised to tackle poverty and corruption in the Philippines. In response to a poll showing him trailing in the presidential race, Pacquiao said "the voices of the poor have not been heard," per Lema. He's also told the Associated Press (h/t NPR.org) that corrupt politicians "will soon end in jail together."

Pacquiao has faced criticism for his stance against same-sex marriage, and anti-gay remarks he made in 2016 led to Nike ending a sponsorship deal with him.

As a boxer, Pacquiao went 62-8-2 with 39 KOs in a 26-year career.