Manny Pacquaio

Examining the religious beliefs of world champion professional boxer Manny Pacquaio.

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao is almost too good to be true. Nicknamed Manny, this 36-year-old Filipino is a world champion professional boxer, basketball player, actor and singer. He is also a member of the Philippine House of Representatives.

Formerly a Roman Catholic, Manny Pacquaio is nowadays a deeply religious Evangelical Christian.

How can he combine his faith, promoting forgiveness and healing, with sometimes brutal fighting in the boxing ring? According to CNN Philippines, Pacquaio “has closed down pool halls, cock fighting rings, and casinos that have been associated to him, and altered his lifestyle to fit his beliefs.”

Pacquaio, however, knows that in the boxing ring it is his duty to fight and win in any possible way. “I know he is at peace with it, and when he gets into that ring he is a boxer,” said Paul Soriano, a close friend and the director of Pacquaio’s latest biographical film Kid Kulafu.

On May 2, Pacquaio fights with another megastar and religious worshipper, Floyd Mayweather, Jr, in Las Vegas. The Guardian cites the fight as “the most expensive fight in history,” with revenues expected to exceed $400 million. The New York Magazine asked Pacquaio, what will he do the day of the fight and how will he prepare. “The day of the fight I will be excited”, he said  to the magazine.

American football quarterback Tim Tebow visited Pacquaio in Los Angeles in March while he was training there. According to Orlando Sentinel, Tebow and Pacquaio have a lot in common in terms of religious beliefs, philanthropy, being professional athletes and their Filipino backgrounds.

Pacquaio can count on Tebow being in his corner. “It was the first time they had ever met and yet it seemed they had known each other forever the way they immediately embraced each other,”  promoter Bob Arum said.

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