(Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
Manny Pacquiao, high-profile Filipino boxer and congressman who has earned eight world titles, has begun training with God in his corner for an upcoming bout against Timothy Bradley.
Pacquiao, 33, has recently strengthened his Christian faith which at one time made him question his violent career choice. However, Pacquiao recently credited God for helping to improve his training regiment which began on Wednesday.
"Nothing has changed," Pacquiao said in an Agence France-Presse report. "I am still fully focused on training although now I am happier because I have God."
However, a few months ago Pacquiao was making others in his training camp question if his occupation and faith could co-exist. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, said that he was bothered by the boxer's statements in a February ESPN report.
"He says God doesn't want him to hurt people," Roach said. "That bothers me a little bit, but Manny has always been a compassionate person."
Pacquiao, nicknamed "Pacman," is a Roman Catholic who has talked recently about ending his fighting career to focus on his religious beliefs. The boxer told ABS-CBN News that his fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 9 might be the last of his career.
Still, his team has recognized that the bout will not be an easy one. Buboy Fernandez, a Pacquiao aide, spoke about the challenges that are awaiting the boxer in his next match.
"Bradley has his own moves," Fernandez said in an AFP report. "He's good at head movement and we have to pay attention to that. He can also bend the rules to his advantage."
Still, Pacquiao has not lost sight of his mission as a Christian boxer. Last month he reportedly spoke with Filipino radio station DZMM about God telling him to stop boxing in a dream.
"I will not stay long in boxing because He said, 'You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful," Pacquiao said.