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Friends say Pacquiao is a changed man

/ 06:07 PM February 03, 2012

This file photo taken on November 21, 2011, shows Philippine boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao (L) attending a mass at the Quiapo Church in Manila after arriving from the US. The influential Catholic church in the Philippines said on January 30, 2012 it had asked Manny Pacquiao to follow in the footsteps of NFL hero Tim Tebow and become a "bible ambassador". AFP PHOTO/FILE/PHOTO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines—Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is a gambling man no more and has even given up the nightlife, people close to him say.

He now keeps a mobile phone that has no passwords that would prevent other people, such as his wife, from accessing  information stored in the gadget.

Pacquiao was previously perceived as a womanizer, a gambler and a heavy drinker. He reportedly did not have qualms about losing huge amounts of money to gambling and is reported to have lost P100,000 in a single billiards match.

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He was also an almost regular fixture of the nightlife here and in other places.

Mayor Reynaldo Constantino of Malungon, Sarangani, a close political ally of the Sarangani representative, said that recently, Pacquiao sold a casino he operated in a five-star hotel  in Manila and divided the proceeds among the affected employees.

He said Pacquiao then disposed of his fighting cocks at his sprawling MP Farm in Malungon.

“He gave all his game fowls to his close friends. The guy is really determined to change for the better,” Constantino said.

He said based on what Pacquiao had told him, the farm will be converted into a wildlife sanctuary.

Pacquiao’s fighting cock farm was a tourist destination in Sarangani simply because of the sheer number of birds he kept there.

Pacquiao, he said, has also decided to shut down his J-Mix restaurant and bar at the MP-2 Building on Aparente St. here. Pacquiao and his friends frequented the establishment for drinks and billiards.

“Congressman Pacquiao is now a changed man. He has given up cockfighting, billiards and all other mundane entertainment,” Constantino said.

Jinkee Pacquiao, the pugilist’s wife, said the southpaw’s change was brought about by his current passion – reading the Bible, which Pacquiao himself recently discussed in a television/radio interview in which he said he had also given up on womanizing.

“The power of the word of God has changed Manny,” Jinkee said in a text message to the Inquirer.

She said the Bible-reading sessions also made Pacquiao spend more time at home.

Another change, Jinkee said, was that her husband now had only one mobile phone. Unlike in the past, the remaining mobile phone has no user password that would prevent her from taking a look at what it contains.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez told reporters here that a Protestant pastor was guiding Pacquiao but the pugilist had not changed religion.

“He told me that he is still a Catholic. He admitted that the one conducting daily bible service in his home is a Protestant pastor. So, I gave him a daily scripture guide and I directed a priest from a parish near his house to lead the conduct of a bible study,” Gutierrez said.

He said Pacquiao even offered to host a spiritual retreat of clergymen under the Diocese of Marbel in March.

TAGS: Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Pacquiao, People, Religion, Sports
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