Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
Professional boxing is frequently an ugly and degrading sport but, despite that, some of its participants have very noble spirits.
Such as Filipino world champion Manny Pacquiao, who is being hailed as one of the “sweet science’s” all-time greats after his two-round demolition of Englishman Ricky Hatton last Saturday evening in Las Vegas.
Here is an excerpt of a description of Pacquiao — who is a national hero in the Philippines — from an article by Zen Udani posted at Mercator.net:
Boxing is a sport which often brutalizes its practitioners. But Manny is different and that’s part of the reason why Filipinos love him. First of all, he is pious, even disconcertingly so. He has no qualms about wearing a rosary around his neck before and after a match or of making a sign of the cross at the start of a round. He entrusts himself and his professional work to God. He started Saturday off by attending Mass and at the end of the fight you could see a member of Team Pacquiao pointing down to the corner, reminding him to kneel down and give thanks before acknowledging the cheers of the ecstatic crowd. And when Arum praised him for his phenomenal performance. Manny responded, “Don’t forget God.”
Afterwards Manny was quick to give credit where it was due. “Everything comes from God. I owe everything to God. He gives me strength. With God on your side, anything is possible. You can do things you thought you could only dream about.” But the self-deprecating boxer also deserves some of the credit. His training regime is incredibly demanding.
Go here for another article by Udani about how Pacquiao integrates his faith and fighting, also posted at the Mercator.net website.