Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxer who has dominated the world rankings in multiple weight classes, may be hanging up his gloves for good after his upcoming fight with Timothy Bradley Jr., stating that it might not look good for a "Bible ambassador" like himself to beat on people in the ring.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), who in addition to being a prize fighter is also a politician and representative in the Province of Sarangani in the Philippines, recently told ABS-CBN News that his fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 9 might be the last of his career.
The Catholic fighter-politician told the news station in January that his faith was reignited after he encountered God in a dream. He also said he would have "gone straight to hell" if he had died a year or two ago. He had faith at the time but said he would also do "evil things" like gambling and womanizing.
But things have changed, and Pacquiao – who holds a boxing record of eight titles, each in a different weight class – was recently approached by the Filipino Roman Catholic Church about serving as a "Bible ambassador" in order to encourage Catholics to spend more time reading the Scriptures. He accepted.
Now, ABS-CBN News reports, the champ is considering giving up his boxing career to spend more time on his "political plans" and on "reading the Bible."
Boxing fans are surely saddened by this news, as it appears the dream match-up between Pacquiao and American boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) will never come to fruition.
The plans for a Pacquiao-Mayweather super fight have frequently been interrupted by a number of issues between the two fighters' camps. Though the chances that match-up will occur seem to be growing smaller, some people, like BoxingInsider.com's Scoop Malinowski, wonder if Pacquiao might be using retirement talk to lure Mayweather into the ring.
"If Mayweather truly wants to fight Manny this year, like he claims with words but not actions, he will be upset to learn Pacquiao may quit boxing. If Mayweather is relieved and happy to hear Pacquiao will retire, it will prove what many of us have been saying for two years – Floyd never wanted the Pacquiao fight, he only faked and pretended it for image reasons," Malinowski writes.
Greg Young, the boxing instructor at Fight 4Life Fitness and Boxing Ministry in Birmingham, Ala., told The Christian Post on Monday that he hopes Pacquiao will wait to retire until he fights Mayweather.
"I would hope that would happen pretty soon. I know if it [doesn't] happen pretty soon it probably never will happen," said Young.
In addition to teaching the inner-city youth of Birminham discipline through boxing, Fight 4Life also encourages young people through tutoring, a Bible/mentoring group and even a young mother's program.
Fight 4Life program participants are required to memorize and apply a "Participant's Pledge" to their lives. The pledge begins like this:
"I am a valuable and precious creation of God.
I am a leader, not just a follower.
I am my own role model follow me.
I will do great things through Christ Jesus.
I am created for greatness."
Young doesn't think Pacquiao should be concerned about how being a boxer will affect him as a Bible ambassador. He says that God can be glorified through boxing, though he too used to be criticized by some for "trying to hurt people" in the ring because he is a Christian.
But boxing isn't just fighting, Young suggests; it's a sport.
"It's more like ... football," he said. "I don't think them guys really hate each other, they're just trying to just win."