GENERAL SANTOS CITY -– After bidding goodbye to his prized fighting cocks, Manila casino, and entertainment joint here several weeks ago, world boxing sensation and Sarangani representative Manny Pacquiao is now considering hanging up his boxing gloves for good in favor of his faith and “Bible-centered” life.
Pacquiao disclosed over the weekend that he is seriously pondering retiring from boxing after his scheduled June 9 World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight against American brawler Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Hindi maganda na nagse-share ako ng salita ng Panginoon tapos nananakit ako ng kapwa (It’s not right that I share God’s word and at the same time hurt other people),” he told reporters after gracing the oath-taking of newly-promoted personnel of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion in Maasim town in Sarangani.
The neophyte Sarangani lawmaker, who has already earned a sizable fortune from his boxing exploits since his ring debut 16 years ago, said he wants to concentrate more on sharing his faith while at the same time helping his poor constituents.
“I’ve gained more than enough blessings these past years so I think it’s time for me to return the favor,” he said in Filipino.
Last September, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum was quoted saying that Pacquiao supposedly plans to retire from boxing by the end of 2013 after running for governor of Sarangani province.
Pacquiao’s mother Dionesia had asked him several times to quit boxing and just focus on his businesses and budding political career.
On the other hand, Pacquiao said he would only retire from boxing once his famed trainer Freddie Roach sees him slowing down.
After his controversial unanimous decision win over Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez last November, Pacquiao was initially reported to have started attending Bible studies through the help of a Protestant pastor.
Mayor Reynaldo Constantino of Malungon, Sarangani, a close ally of Pacquiao, earlier said the latter has so far become a “changed man” as a result of his new found passion for studying the Bible.
Pacquiao, who made the headlines in the past for his alleged affairs with other women as well as his gambling and drinking habits, has reportedly sold a casino that he operates in a Manila hotel and disposed of his fighting cocks.
He also shut down recently his J-Mix restaurant and bar, where he used to treat his friends for drinks and billiard games.
Earlier this month, Pacquiao accepted an offer from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to become the Church’s “Bible ambassador.”
With his impending retirement, the ring icon’s highly-anticipated showdown with undefeated American champion Floyd Mayweather and fourth face-off with Marquez now appears in limbo.
The Pacquiao camp earlier tried to sign up Mayweather for a May 5 brawl but the initial talks eventually went nowhere reportedly due to disputes over shares of the mega-fight’s anticipated earnings.
Mayweather decided instead to go with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto while Pacquiao settled on Bradley for their May and June fights, respectively.