“I’m so proud of Jeremy Lin,” Pacquiao told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after a press conference Wednesday at Beverly Hills Hotel, which kicked off the promotional tour for his welterweight bout with unbeaten Timothy Bradley. The fight is scheduled for June 9 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Filipino boxing superstar said he was scheduled to meet with Taiwanese-American Lin, the overnight sensation of the National Basketball Association (NBA), before the start of the New York Knicks’ game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday in New York. The frenzy over Lin’s phenomenal success has been dubbed “Linsanity.”
Pacquiao said he would tell Lin to “keep up the good work.”
“I want to promote people who shine with their God-given talent, following His commandments,” he said, referring to Lin.
Last month, Pacquiao was asked by Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines to follow in the footsteps of National Football League (NFL) hero, Tim Tebow, and become a “Bible ambassador.” Tebow was born in the Philippines to an American missionary couple.
Pacquiao accepted the invitation of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to help strengthen the Church’s biblical apostolate in the country.
He said he was looking forward to his meeting with Lin, a devout Christian who often quotes biblical verses in social media, and added that he would like to watch Lin play if his schedule would allow.
Earlier reports said that while in New York, Pacquiao would also meet with his team of lawyers to discuss the filing of a defamation lawsuit against his arch-nemesis, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and his father and uncle/trainer.
Mayweather recently stirred controversy when he said on Twitter that “Jeremy Lin is a good player, but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”
When asked about Mayweather’s comment, Pacquiao defended Lin, saying Lin has been getting national attention because of his ability and that race was not a factor. He said it was not right for Mayweather to “judge” Lin.
“If somebody’s judging others, let God judge (him),” Pacquiao said, then proceeded to quote a biblical verse: “Do not judge or you, too, will be judged.”
Mayweather has also made racially insensitive comments about Pacquiao. In November 2010, he told the Filipino in a video to “make some sushi rolls and cook some rice.” He added that “we’re going to cook him with some cats and dogs.”
Pacquiao fans have drawn similarities between the champion boxer and Lin. Both are known for their humility, strong work ethic and for professing to be devout Christians.
“God’s given me a unique platform and right now, I’m trying to use it in the right way,” Lin was recently quoted as saying. “I can use national television, I can use media in a way to talk about my faith, to talk about how much God has done in my life, not what I’ve done to make it to the NBA.”
June 9 match
Pacquiao talked to reporters about his religious transformation, saying he “found real happiness” in his life through the bible. “By reading the bible, I found out how to follow (God’s) commandments and how to enter the kingdom of heaven,” he said.
He hinted at retiring soon. “I’m not gonna stay long in boxing,” he said.
At the press conference, Pacquiao and Bradley posed for photos and praised each other.
“He (Bradley) is strong and he can punch. He’s a good boxer so it’s a challenge to fight a guy like that,” Pacquiao told reporters. “I have to train hard. I have to be 100-percent conditioned and prepared.”
Pacquiao, 33, will stake his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Bradley, 28, the WBO junior welterweight counterpart, in a pay-per-view bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Tickets for the fight will go on sale on February 24, priced at $1,200, $900, $600 and $400 to be limited to 10 per person. The $200 tickets will be limited to two per person. Tickets will also be available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.