File photo showing boxing icon Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao praying with his wife Jinkee during prayer worship at the P6.7-million church, the Pinoy champion built in General Santos City, South Cotabato.
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA —Manny Pacquiao’s mom may have failed to convince the Pinoy boxing icon and senator to retire from boxing, but in what some may tag as divine intervention, the eight-division world champion has revealed that God has told him through a dream sometime in January this year that he should change his ways and consider his early retirement from boxing.
Pacquiao, widely regarded by his fans and supporters as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter disclosed that God had appeared to him in a vision and asked him to retire soon.
“I will not stay long in boxing because He said: ‘You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful,’” Pacquiao quoted from his divine dream.
As early as 2009, the neophyte senator’s mother Aling Dionesia had been badgering her son to hang up his gloves to avoid further harm since he has nothing to prove anymore as a boxer and a public official of the land.
And the favored son, who has won eight titles in as many weight divisions and has been named Fighter of the Decade, would grudgingly accede—but only to have fights lined up for him one after the other by veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum, who has been known for promoting championship bouts such as the Marvin Hagler-Roberto Duran title fight in 1983 and is only rivaled by the legendary Don King.
On June 9 the current year, the People’s Champ will again climb the ring and stake his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against American light welterweight challenger Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
And when he does, Pacquiao will be a new man—rid of his vices and preaching the Bible. Asked if his newfound religious fervor would affect his boxing prowess, Pacquiao replied: “I will do my work inside the ring.” Meaning, he would still wage war against the unbeaten Bradley, who is undoubtedly in his prime at 28 with a 28-win, 0-loss, and 1-draw record.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao, owner of a 54-3-2 slate, who declined to reveal how many more fights he would have before stepping down, said he believed he had been chosen by God to use his fame to spread the Christian message.
“When I speak, a lot of people listen,” said Pacquiao, who has translated his sports fame into huge riches, a show biz career, election to the Lower House as representative of Sarangani province and now senator of the Republic.
Having given up gambling and late-night partying as part of his covenant with God, Pacquiao said he would make a major announcement on a religious note later this month, or before he plunges into serious training for the pay-per-view fight with Bradley.
And if Pacquiao does choose to preach over fighting, chances of his much-awaited megabuck bout with another unbeaten American, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0), will sadly not materialize as fans hope for their hero to register a revenge win over the American braggart. Fans have actually long sought a Pacquiao-Mayweather matchup. The pair was in negotiations for a mega-fight to have been held later this year but talks failed to get any positive results for the bout to push through. (AI/MTVN)