Juan Manuel Marquez says injuries forced him to retire from boxing

MEXICO -- There will be no more "Dinamita" in the ring.

Juan Manuel Márquez, one of the greatest Mexican boxers of all time, announced his retirement from boxing on Friday, a month shy of his 44th birthday. His career began May 29, 1993. Márquez is likely to be a first-ballot International Boxing Hall of Famer.

Overwhelmed by injuries and worn down from 64 pro fights, Márquez chose, much to his regret, to accept that retirement is the right choice.

"Today is a special and sad day for me because I'm announcing my retirement. The injuries pushed me to make this decision. It hurts, but I believe the right moment to put an end to my career has arrived," Márquez said Friday on ESPN Deportes TV show Golpe a Golpe. "I would have loved to do a final fight to say goodbye inside the ring, but I have to listen to my body, and it was telling me that the right moment to stop boxing is now."

Márquez held belts in four weight classes, but he probably will be most remembered for an electrifying moment on Dec. 8, 2012, when he brutally knocked out Manny Pacquiao with a right hand to put an end to a four-fight series that had its first chapter eight years before.

Márquez, who captivated the Mexican sports scene with his many important fights, was an excellent technician, and many consider him the best counterpuncher ever among Mexican fighters. He was also smart and brave to go toe-to-toe with his rivals, which endeared him to Mexican fans after initially being in the shadows of fellow countrymen Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.

Rated among the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters for many years, Márquez wanted to return to the sport one more time after beating Mike Alvarado in May 2014, which wound up being his last professional fight. In 2016, Márquez was determined to put on the gloves for one last run in an attempt to become the first Mexican with five championships and to pave the way for a final goodbye.

Under the guidance of trainer Ignacio Beristáin and assistant Raúl de Anda, Márquez reached unexpected heights. He fought only 10 times in Mexico, 53 times in the United States, and once in Indonesia. He held titles as a featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight.

His first world championship came at age 30, and he had 18 world title fights. He was one-half of two Fight of the Year awards. He fought in eight PPV events that sold almost 5 million buys and is only the second Mexican to hold belts in all four alphabet sanctioning bodies.

Márquez fought the likes of Pacquiao, Manuel Medina, Orlando Salido, Chris John, Barrera, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz, Floyd Mayweather and Timothy Bradley, among others. He had four memorable fights with Pacquiao, winning one, losing two and earning a draw in the other.

Márquez and brother Rafael were one of the few Mexican sibling duos to be world champions.

He exits the sport with a record of 56-7-1 with 40 knockouts.