Reformed Pacquiao To Visit Jerusalem

8 June 2012

LAS VEGAS - Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is laying the groundwork for a landmark visit by Manny Pacquiao to Jerusalem next month.

Arum said on Thursday night that the trip was Pacquiao's own idea and the Top Rank chief said he will make the most out of the event by making it truly unforgettable.

If the trip happens, Arum said Pacquiao will visit the Christian communities in Israel and will likely even ride a fighter jet of the Israeli Air Force.

Pacquiao has been so immersed in the Bible that he has gotten rid of all of his bad habits like high-stakes gambling, partying and womanizing.

Even at the height of his training for this Saturday night's meeting with Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao recited Bible verses and sounded like an ordained pastor.

Pacquiao and his immediate family and Arum will join him in the journey to the Holy Land as well as close friends from here and the Philippines, according to the 80-year-old Arum.

The trip will take place in mid-July, said Arum.

Meantime, world super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire expressed the belief on Thursday that an 80 percent Manny Pacquiao will be enough to repulse the challenge of Tim Bradley.

"Even if Manny is about 80 percent (he can beat Bradley)," said Donaire, who blew into town to formally announce his July 7 fight with Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa.

The fight will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, with Donaire putting his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization 122-lb crowns on the line against Mathebula's International Boxing Federation jewels.

Donaire said that if Pacquiao is below 80 percent, he will have a hard time dealing with Bradley, whom Donaire has known since they were in their early teens while they were in the amateur ranks.