World welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has has become even more devoutly religious and his new found commitment to faith may threaten his boxing career.
According to the Filipino news outlet MindaNews, Pacquiao, who has reportedly begun Bible study classes, has shut down a restaurant and bar he owned, sold his shares in a casino and nightclub and gotten rid his cockfighting gamecocks.
The boxer has also accepted an offer from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to become a “Bible ambassador.”
“It’s not right that I share God’s word and at the same time hurt other people,” Pacquiao told reporters.
Pacquiao, who also serves as a congressman in his native country, said that he would like to focus on sharing his faith and helping the poor.
“I’ve gained more than enough blessings these past years so I think it’s time for me to return the favor,” he said.
Boxing fans have been waiting for what would assuredly be the fight of the century between Pacquiao (54–3, 38 KOs) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42–0, 26 KOs). However, there may not be a fight after all. After several years of back-and-forth tussles between the two fighters, Pacquiao’s increased devotion to his Catholic faith may now be another hurdle.
Pacquiao is scheduled to defend his welterweight title against Timothy Bradley June 9 in Las Vegas.