WBO Welterweight champion and all time great Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2 with 38 KOs) -- who will battle undefeated 2 time junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (28-0 with 12 KOs) on June 9th -- has been making headlines lately after being a guest on a Manilla radio show.
While on the show, Manny alluded to a dream that he had had earlier this year in which he claims to have spoken to God. This same dream according to Pacquiao is what lead to him recently weaning off of such vices as compulsive gambling, drinking, chasing skirts and late night partying. These are things that he became famous for among his circle of friends.
During the interview, Manny said “I will not stay long in boxing because he (God) said ‘you have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful’” I couldn’t help but think of when Evander Holyfield also claimed to have spoken to God right before his rematch with Lennox Lewis and that “God told me that I would knock him out in the 3rd round.” The third round came and went and although Evander won that round, Lewis remained firmly on his feet and went on to win the fight while Holyfield found himself having to answer questions about “the prophecy." Holyfield’s response was “I must have heard him wrong."
I am by no means an atheist; I believe in a higher power and I am spiritual. I am not affiliated with an organized religion, however, and I am not the kind of person who has a high degree of tolerance for the presumptuous and irreverent act of proselytizing and/or publicizing one’s beliefs in an effort to recruit others and draw attention to a particular brand of religion. This is an election year and the phrase “separation of church and state” has come up a few times. I certainly believe in that, and I also believe in the separation of church and sport!
I met Manny Pacquiao about 5 years ago at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym and I found him to be a very nice, humble man on top of being an amazing boxer and freakishly fast. He was just beginning to become the worldwide icon that he has become. He was training for the first Erik Morales fight, which was the last fight he lost.
I don’t doubt that he is still as nice as he was back then, but I am beginning to wonder how humble he remains given this recent divulgence. The vast majority of people believe in God, and the vast majority of them pray to God on occasion. What the vast majority of people don’t do, however, is claim to have spoken to God. I find it interesting that God only chooses athletes and/or entertainers and certain politicians to communicate with in order to spread his word to the “little people” beneath them.
I always thought that most religions viewed everyone as being equally below God and no one was higher up the ladder and/or given a special celestial hotline number. It’s amazing what fame and money to do to a person’s ego. Since God is communicating to boxers, I sure hope he tells both Manny and Floyd not to retire before fighting one another. That is a fight I bet even our benevolent lord wants to see.
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