Pacquiao focuses on fight, not tax

World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said Thursday that a growing row with the Philippine government over tax will not distract him from his Las Vegas showdown with the undefeated Timothy Bradley.

The eight-time world champion, a member of parliament who enjoys iconic status in the Philippines, said of the tax issue: "I am not affected. That is nothing to me."

"I have been reading the bible to gain strength and inspiration," he said. "I am still focused and I won't allow these issues to affect my concentration."

Pacquiao, 33, a Catholic who has talked increasingly of his religious beliefs, said he was already doing roadwork ahead of the start of his official training camp on April 16.

He faces the American Bradley on June 9.

On Monday, Pacquiao vowed to launch a countersuit after the Bureau of Internal Revenue filed a criminal case against him last month for failing to submit proper documents about his huge earnings.

If found guilty, the millionaire sportsman could face up to two years in jail.

Internal revenue chief Kim Henares said Thursday that Pacquiao -- regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters around -- was firing up the controversy that the boxer says is costing him money in endorsements.

"If there is (negative) publicity, it is fuelled by Congressman Pacquiao," she told reporters.

"If he just does the simple thing of presenting the documents, then the case will be closed."

She stressed that her agency had never accused Pacquiao of tax evasion and just wanted to make sure he had paid the right amount of taxes from his boxing matches and numerous commercial endorsements.

Pacquiao's tax problems are the latest colourful event in his career, which he hinted last week was nearing an end because God had told him to retire soon.

He previously said he had given up partying and gambling to become a more vocal advocate of Christianity, frequently quoting the bible at every opportunity.

Pacquiao declared assets at the end of 2010 at 1.13 billion pesos ($26.3 million) and no liabilities, making him the Philippines' wealthiest member of parliament.

Pacquiao, who has a 54-3 win-loss record with two draws, stakes his World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown against Bradley.

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