“The WBC has received a letter from the great boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, stating that he has voluntarily relinquished his WBC lightweight world championship.
“The WBC is extremely proud of Manny, who has been associated with our organization since 1997, when he won the WBC-affiliated OPBF championship. Manny became the WBC flyweight world champion in 1998.
“With severe weight problems, he moved up to the super bantamweight divisioin and immediately won the WBC International super bantamweight title, which he defended five times.
“In 2005, he challenged Erik Morales for the WBC International super featherweight title and although he lost that fight, Manny came back to win the vacant International title in his next fight. He won the rematch with Morales in 2006, and went on to defend the International title five times.
“In March, 2008, Manny defeated Juan Manuel Marquez to win the WBC super featherweight world title. In June, 2008, he moved up to the lightweight division and defeated David Diaz to win the WBC lightweight world championship, and he finished his historic year with a knockout win against Oscar de la Hoya in a welterweight fight.
“Manny Pacquiao won the WBC’s award for ‘2008 Fighter of the Year.’
“The WBC wishes to thank Manny for his beautiful letter, and we wish him the best of luck. He will always have the WBC in his corner.”
Manny’s letter read in full:
“Dear Mr. Sulaiman and World Boxing Council:
“I take great pride and honor in representing the WBC as its lightweight champion at the present time. Your institution has opened the door for my success in boxing and I am grateful for the prestige your organization had given me over the years as on of its champions in many different weight categories.
“I have had discussions with my team as to the direction of my career since my fight at 147 lbs. with Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, 2008. After careful consideration and in the advancement ot my professional boxing career, I intend at this time to campaign in the super lightweight division with a fight against Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009.
“Therefore, this correspondence will serve as formal notice to the World Boxing Council I am voluntarily relinquishing my WBC lightweight championship in order to pave the way for a new champion and provide opportunities and success for other fighters in the lightweight division.
“I look forward to the opportunity and distinction of representing your organization as a world champion in future.
“Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao”