SACRAMENTO, California—Promoter Bob Arum bristled Tuesday when asked by reporters about Manny Pacquiao’s latest sermon from his makeshift ring ministry.
Crossing political swords with President Barrack Obama, who has endorsed gay marriage, the now Bible-touting Pacquiao told the “National Conservative Examiner” newspaper it was his “opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God.”
“Sometimes I get the impression that I’m promoting Rick Santorum, and not Manny Pacquiao,” said Arum hours after his fighter went on record and ripped Obama for his pro gay marriage stance.
Former US senator Santorum became the star of ultra-conservatives while running in the Republican Party’s presidential primaries. He was more than willing to joust with anyone over homosexuality and contemporary culture.
“You have to understand, since the last fight last November, he (Pacquiao) has become a totally different person,” explained Arum. “He’s super religious. He does Bible study every night… But be that as it may, who knows what effect it will have on his ring ability on June 9th?”
June 9 is when Pacquiao, boxing’s pound-for-pound king, tangles with a hungry Timothy Bradley for the WBO world welterweight title at the MGM Grand Terrace in Las Vegas.
More than his ability to stay focused for his fight against Bradley, the bigger question facing Pacquiao—and Arum—is how the boxer’s provocative opinion on gay marriage would affect traffic for the bout, both in gate receipts and pay-per-view buys. As expected, the gay community and its liberal supporters have blasted Pacquiao and his pronouncement.
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It was the second time in a week that Pacquiao’s recommitment to Christianity has sparked a media frenzy.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer told the “Los Angeles Times” five days ago that his fighter has become drawn to the Bible after almost losing his fight in November against Juan Manuel Marquez.
“All the distractions caught up with Manny in his last fight,” Roach told the Times. Freddie also disclosed a “pre-Marquez climate that included ‘girls and everything that goes with it,’ late nights of gambling and excessive physical wear playing too many games of basketball.”
Roach said his fighter has undergone a period of adjustments and is back with his wife Jinkee. The Times said that according to Roach, Jinkee served her husband with divorce papers on the eve of the Marquez fight.
There is no divorce in the Philippines and how either party to a marriage can file for divorce in America is beyond me, since that divorce, even if granted, is not valid back home.
But Roach has since said he was misquoted on the divorce story, although he said he knew it was not all sweetness and light between Manny and Jinkee before the Marquez fight.
Loose lips sink ships, and so the saying goes. But in the case of Roach, his disclosures about Pacquiao’s indiscretions may have helped steady the Filipino sports icon’s boat leading to his bout with Bradley.
Credit also goes to Freddie for blowing the whistle that the boxer’s coterie of friends, advisers and hangers-on who cling to him like barnacles to a ship, like gnats hovering nonstop around a carabao, would dare not touch.
Since they thrive on the champion’s largess, members of the cabal are bound by a code of silence not to talk about their main man’s escapades.
Speak no evil, hear no evil.
The heck with you, Roach, whose language is as salty as a sailor’s sometimes, appears to be telling the boxer’s coterie. Roach, incorrigible when it comes to his prized pupil’s well-being, manned up to tell it all.
Indeed, Roach’s rat is out of its Hollywood hole.