Pacquiao KO leads to 'religious' debate

People's Champ stands steadfast

The country was stunned as the People's Champ lay crumpled on the floor after a "perfect punch" from rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

Then, social networks lit up. While most expressed shock, comments turned to religion. In the Philippines, a search on "Pacquiao" or "Manny" on Twitter leads to speculations on whether Pacquiao's decision to leave his former religion led to his defeat in the ring.

On Monday morning, December 10, Pacquiao's mother was even blaming his loss to his change of religion while brandishing a rosary on live TV. Pacquiao was noticeably not pleased as he immediately ended the conversation, saying that they should have this conversation among family when he gets back.

As seen on Twitter:

Even local journalists were calling out a connection on his loss and "God's will."

Pacquiao's religious devotion is well documented. He precedes every fight by kneeling and praying in his corner of the ring. His mom is just as religious, being seen on TV praying before an altar when his son has a fight. Religion seems to have kept Manny and his family grounded all these years. His recent decision to from from being Catholic to Christian -- or at least "(to) re-energized his Christianity," as puts it -- has been linked to a change in Manny's demeanor.

Again, on a local morning show, one sports reporter showed a video of Pacquiao singing inf front of the congregation of a Christian service. As the local reporter narrated his story, the video showed Pacquiao taking on the mike. It may indicate the well-known Christian ritual of voluntary testimony from a devout member to the congregation.

Pacquiao's renewed spirituality is palpable in word and deed. It was not surprising that after his defeat, one of the fight commentators mentioned the boxer's decision to lessen his "bible studies" to prepare for the fourth fight.

Still, his new-found devotion made its way to post-fight interviews.

In GMA Network's nationally televised morning show Unang Hirit of GMA Network, Pacquiao, in a more relaxed mood, said, "Salamat sa Panginoon at nakahinga pa ako at niligtas ako sa kapahamakan [I thank the Lord that I'm still alive and saving me from danger.]"  "I didn't even know that my face was on the floor," he jokingly admitted in Filipino to local broadcast journalists Arnold Clavio and Rhea Santos.

He also assured his children about his current state: "Don't worry about me, I'm okay too." But his son Michael who was back in the Philippines, had to ask again, "Are you okay?"

Pacquiao repeated, "I'm okay." Michael is said to be celebrating his birthday on Wednesday, December 12.

Wife Jinkee said she felt fear when she saw Manny go down in the 6th round. "For boxers, their lives are always at risk," she said.

Jinkee said she wants Manny to retire.


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