Over the last few weeks, Manny Pacquiao has taken to telling anyone that will listen that God wants him to retire from boxing. Again, even though people are just now taking notice of the Filipino champion’s bizarre justification for possible retirement, he has been on this train for weeks.
Recently, Pacquiao spoke with the good folks at Manila Bulletin and elaborated on his retirement plans even further. According to him, God is now giving him three more fights before he has to hang up his gloves.
Via the Bulletin:
“Three fights pa,” Pacquiao told the Manila Bulletin Tuesday from Cebu where he will be taping two episodes of his weekly game show on GMA-7 in the coming days.
Pacquiao said he has to tape his shows in advance because he will soon start the first phase of his training in Baguio City for the June 9 showdown with Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao said in a radio interview on Monday that he has spoken with God, who has told him to retire, as he has accumulated enough fortune and achieved fame no other Filipino athlete has.
As annoying as it is that we have to keep posing this question, Pacquiao refusing to answer it means that we have to keep asking it: why is God giving him x amount more fights before retiring? Remember, a few weeks back he offered this explanation for why religion is making him reconsider his boxing future:
That justification is completely and totally reasonable. But once again, if it’s not right that Pacquiao “share(s) God’s word and at the same time hurt(s) other people” than why does he get three more fights to hurt people? Shouldn’t that desire to avoid hurting people mean that he retires immediately, ASAP?
While you don’t want to question the man’s integrity here, Pacquiao’s ridiculous “God told me to retire” talk feels like a bad publicity stunt.
For those wondering what a somewhat realistic retirement because of God looks like, see the story of rapper Mason Durell Betha, a.k.a. Mase. In 1997, under the tutelage of Sean Combs, Mase released a hit album called “Harlem World.” Two years later, banking off the success of his debut, he released a sophomore album called “Double Up.” Right around the time when he was supposed to run around and promote his second album, he randomly up and decided to retire. According to him, his retirement was spurred by a message from God instructing him to pursue whatever religious endeavors he eventually wound up pursuing.
Now there are a lot of debates regarding how legitimate Mase’s sudden religiousness was, but this much is for certain: he stayed away from music for five years. When he “found God” and God “told” him to stop going on his current path, he actually stopped doing it on the spot. In the middle of whatever he was doing.
If Pacquiao was told by God to stop boxing, he would theoretically stop boxing immediately. Not after this next fight. Not three fights after that. Now. Not later. Now.
Again, you don’t want to accuse anyone of anything, but this feels like nothing more than a publicity stunt to squeeze an extra bit of pay-per-view (PPV) revenue out of folks who weren’t especially interested in seeing Pacquiao pound Timothy Bradley into the canvas. After all, who won't shell out $50 to see one of the all-time greats fight one of his last three fights? That's a much better selling point than: "He has five more years of fights left in him."
Finding God is all well and good, but pretending to find God for the sake of hyping up a fight is beneath Pacquiao and all he stands for.