By Johnny Walker
Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao’s image in the United States is that of a “cute lil’ feller” who goes on talk shows, sings pop songs badly, and knocks people out in the ring viciously. But while the public image of Pacquiao has brought him lucrative endorsements and great popularity here, it seems that back home in the Philippines, the Pac-man has been living a life of sin.
Pacquiao himself apparently recently became alarmed at the state of his personal life, and has re-upped with the Catholic Church as a goodwill ambassador, pledging to renounce ““womanizing, gambling, and drinking.”
“I realize I was a weak person before. If I had died I believe my soul would have ended in hell,” Pacquaio said recently to local reporters in his homeland. “I had faith, but I was doing things which were against the will of God.”
According to a report on supersport.com, the Pac-man had been deeply involved in the vile sport of cockfighting, in which the birds are armed with sharp metal spurs and made to fight to the death. Pacquiao at one time owned more than a thousand of the fighting roosters, but has, as part of his newfound religious piety, given them away to friends.
It is worth asking what the reaction would be in the United States if a professional football or basketball player was found to have been involved in cockfighting. Such activity is certainly totally at odds with Pacquiao’s “Mr. Clean” public image in the United States.
Perhaps rather than merely giving the birds away, presumably to still be used for the same purposes, the Pac-man could become an international spokesman against this cruel and barbaric pastime, to truly make amends for his past involvement.
Additionally, Pacquiao has also given up his shares in a lucrative Manila casino, and says “he is no longer in the vice business.”
That he was ever *in* the vice-business at all would come as a big surprise to many of his Stateside fans.