Manny Pacquiao’s strange relationship with his religion has been a fascinating thing to watch over the last few months.
On its face, an athlete becoming increasingly religious towards the end of his career is nothing new. It has something to do with them beginning to come to terms with their mortality and the fact that sports isn’t the end all be all. Really, it’s actually very healthy if you think about it.
The thing about Pacquiao’s newfound religiousness, though, is that he’s attempting to use it as a justification to end his career early. Not to come terms with his career ending. But to actually, apparently seriously, cut it short.
A few months ago, the Filipino championship suggested that his June 9 bout versus Timothy Bradley would be his last one ever. That, for whatever reason, he felt like inflicting more damage in the pursuit of boxing success and massive purses was going against what God wanted him to do. Many people (read: us) wondered aloud why, if that were the case, he would even agree to fight Bradley. After all, if fighting is something that’s so much so against your religious ideology that it could force you into early retirement, shouldn’t you stop immediately? Is that something that could really wait until the next fight?
That’s a question we never actually an answer to.
Nevertheless, this past week, Pacquiao went on DZMM radio and continued to preach about wanting to cut his career short because of God. Or, more specifically, because God told him to. Via GMA:
Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said on Monday that he had been told by God in a dream to retire soon, potentially raising doubt over hopes of a fight with American Floyd Mayweather.
"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.
Pacquiao, 33, said he had the dream earlier this year but declined to reveal how many more fights he would contest before stepping down.
But when asked if his new-found religious fervor would hurt his boxing, Pacquiao replied: "I will do my work inside the ring."
Pacquiao’s strangeness as it relates to religion notwithstanding, at least the boxing community can rest assured that they’ll get one more bout from arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Beyond that? We’ll just have to wait and see.