After LGBT beating, Pacquiao hints of rematch with Mayweather
After taking a beating from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups for his remarks describing those involved in same-sex marriages as “worse than animals,” world boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has sought an easier match.
The 37-year-old boxer, who announced in January that he would retire and concentrate on politics after his upcoming bout against American Timothy Bradley, hinted that a lucrative rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was possible.
Following a high-energy training session in General Santos City, Pacquiao said he was loving the sport as much as ever and could not rule out fighting again.
“It’s hard to say right now,” said Pacquiao, who had won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
“I made [a] decision to retire after this fight, but I am not saying that, you know, boxing is closed to me. You never know,” the boxer said of the possibility of avenging his crushing loss to Mayweather last year.
Pacquiao, who is running for a Senate seat in May, has apologized for his antigay remarks made in a TV interview on Monday after prominent gay celebrities, including television hosts Vice Ganda and Boy Abunda, singer Aiza Seguerra, and Perez Hilton, bashed him on social media.
“It’s common sense,” Pacquiao, an evangelical Protestant, had said. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.”
He apologized for his remarks on Instagram on Tuesday and later, in a video post.
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. To those I’ve hurt, please forgive me. I still stand by my belief that I’m against same-sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning the LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God bless you all and I’m praying for you,” he said.
His apology did not appease LGBTs, who continued to take him to task for his antigay remarks that “could intensify homophobia” and provoke hate crimes against homosexuals, according to Kapederasyon, an 8,000-strong nationwide LGBT organization.
“[H]is election to a government position as influential as a senator’s could intensify homophobia and heighten the incidence of hate crimes against the LGBT people,” the group said in a statement released on Tuesday night.
Electing the Sarangani representative to the Senate might further “impede the passage of the antidiscrimination bill, that for [so] long [has] been lagging in Congress,” Kapederasyon said.
“[Pacquiao] should take steps to adapt to the fast-changing actualities outside both his religious upbringing and the boxing ring,” Kapederasyon said of the boxing champion, Christian pastor, actor, basketball coach, product endorser and lawmaker notorious for his frequent absences in Congress.
The group called Pacquiao’s statement “irresponsible,” saying it might be taken as the prevailing sentiment in the Philippines about LGBTs.
“And he is the Filipino people’s champion, for God’s sake, in a field of sport—boxing—too violent to be considered mabuti pa sa hayop (better than animals),” the group said.
Lawyer Harry Roque called Pacquiao’s statement “discriminatory” of LGBTs and warned that this could perpetuate abuses against homosexuals.
Roque, a nominee of the Kabayan party-list group for the May elections, recalled the case of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude, who was killed by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in 2014, allegedly because he was shocked when he learned the person he had taken to a hotel room turned out to be a man. The lawyer served as counsel for Laude’s family in the case.
Pacquiao spoke at length on Tuesday about his political aspirations, including the prospect of becoming the President, and of his intention to retire from boxing after fighting Bradley for the third time in Las Vegas on April 9.
But the boxer also indicated he wasn’t sure his retirement would be permanent, twice using the term: “You never know.”
He also insisted he remained as physically capable in the ring as a decade ago.
“I don’t feel any different compared [with] when I was 27, 25,” Pacquiao said.
“I am still the same because I discipline myself. Even if I don’t have a fight and I am not in training, I always exercise every day,” added the boxer who aggravated a shoulder injury in the Mayweather bout and underwent surgery five days later.
He said his shoulder had recovered and he was in “100-percent” condition to take on Bradley.
After overseeing Pacquiao’s training on Monday, longtime American mentor Freddie Roach said he also suspected the boxer would be tempted back into the ring should he beat Bradley.
“I’ll go along with him right now because he is running for senator,” Roach said, when asked if he believed Pacquiao genuinely intended to retire.
“But there’s always that side of me that sees Senator Pacquiao [fight again]. Because he likes that, he loves stuff like that,” Roach said. With a report from AFP
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