A boxing promoter has suggested that the recent controversy surrounding world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao defending the traditional definition of marriage may encourage Filipinos who have not been following the sport to now get behind Pacquiao in his next fight.
"It may very well resonate with people," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was quoted as saying by CBS News, as Pacquiao gets ready to fight Timothy Bradley on June 9 in a Pay-Per-View event. "We have so many evangelical Christians living in this country that have paid attention to this whole thing. Some of these people would never think of buying a fight and they might buy it, I don't know. It certainly isn't what was intended."
The fight, available on HBO on June 9 at 9 p.m. EST, has not been priced as yet – but boxing PPV's sometimes cost over $60 dollars.
The issue over Pacquiao's comments exploded two weeks ago when the boxer responded to President Barack Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage by saying that he stands behind the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
His comments were published by Examiner.com, but the author of the article included the Bible verse Leviticus 20:13 following Pacquiao's comments. The verse reads: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
Readers who misunderstood the report by believing Pacquiao had made that reference himself stirred up a media storm that even led to the Filipino congressman being banned from a Hollywood mall, where he was scheduled to give an interview. Officials unhappy with the alleged anti-gay comments told the boxer to find an alternate venue for his meeting. At the same time, a petition started on Change.com urging sponsor Nike to drop Pacquiao gathered 4,000 views before being taken down after the Examiner.com reporter clarified that he had added in the Leviticus reference himself.
Pacquiao explained last week that he has nothing against gay people and that he loves everybody.
"To the gay community, I apologize. I'm against same sex marriage, but I'm not condemning you. My favorite verse is 'Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.' So, I love everybody!," he shared with Extra.
The Philippines remains a largely Christian nation, with the vast majority of the 85 percent religious population belonging to the Roman Catholic faith.