Manny Pacquiao, 32, is considered by many boxing analysts to be the best boxer in world.
That’s why the advice he received from Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel – located in the Philippines, where Pacquiao is from – before climbing into the ring in Las Vegas on Saturday night to defend his W.B.O. welterweight title against Shane Mosley might have sounded a little odd to the average fan, but not so much to Catholics in the Philippines.
Bishop Gutierrez has advised Pacquiao, who is Catholic, to retire on multiple occasions. He did it again before Pacquiao fought Mosley, saying boxing a person is like “boxing the Holy Spirit.” The bishop went on to remind Catholics that a person’s body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”
“Usually, I don’t approve of boxing because you are hurting the other,” Gutierrez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you box someone and punch him, it’s like you’ve also punched the Holy Spirit ... the temple.”
In 2005, a Catholic journal called Civilta Cattolica (Italian for Catholic Civilization) published an editorial entitled “The Immorality of Professional Boxing,” in which it described the sport as “a bloody and mortal game of gladiators,” according to BBC.
Gutierrez, who says he and Pacquiao remain friends, said Pacquiao responds to his requests by saying, “Opo,” which, according to Gutierrez means, “Go ahead. You have your [way] ... I have my own.”
Pacquiao went on to win a unanimous decision Saturday against Mosley to retain the W.B.O. welterweight title.