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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bigger than Mayweather: Manny Pacquiao meets Pope Benedict XVI

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Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley

Forget about Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a moment...and God knows I am trying.

The biggest matchup out there for Manny Pacquiao is not against L'il Floyd.

The biggest, most newsworthy matchup for the Pinoy Idol would be if he can fulfill his longtime dream of meeting the Pope.

Don King, who had an intercession from an Italian boxer, got to go to the Vatican to meet the Holy Father so why not Pacman?

Can't you hear King cackling, if it goes down, "Only in the Vatican!"

Let's face it, when it comes to being a good Catholic and being devout, Pacquiao is that man.

See GMA news story and video report by Rida Reyes as to "Hero's Welcome Set In Manila Monday for Manny Pacquiao.

See Ronnie Nathanielsz, Philboxing, on discovery of petty thieves in Pacman's midst, specfically one cretin named Jeff DeGuzman. DeGuzman is one of numerous freeloaders and scaliwags who attach themselves to Team Pacquiao like barnacles.

may not be PPV TV fodder but, for devout Catholic Pacquiao meeting Pope Benedict XVI is more important than meeting Floyd Mayweather Jr. One guy you fight in the ring, with the other you kiss the ring. (AP Photo)

Once upon a time in America, we had the WMFC, World's Most Famous Catholic in the person of presidential candidate John F. Kennedy. I remember, as a boy in Boston, not really getting it when I heard and read that prejudice people might vote against him because of his faith.

A vote for JFK would put control of the United States into the hands of the Pope, ignorant people said, but Kennedy was elected anyway in 1960.

I dare say the WMFC circa 2010 must be Pacquiao, a serious Catholic from a heavily Catholic nation of 97 million.

He goes to Mass--he had a prefight Mass on the day of the Joshua Clottey bout in Dallas and then a Thanksgiving Mass the day after--more than most nuns and altar boys (are they altar children now?).
Sandwiched into his 140 person traveling entourage on the plane he spent $100,000 to rent and which was dubbed "Air Pacquiao," were at last count about four Pinoy priests including my friend, Father Marlon.

This is how important his faith is to Pacquiao.

After the 15 hour flight from Los Angeles to Manila, arriving at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, Manny, wife and friends will drag themselves to the historic Quiapo Church for the ritual back at home Mass.

Which serves as an opening for this cute story as told to me by Pacman agent/adviser Joe Ramos:
In LA, Pacquiao's church of choice is called Christ The King.

Last time he was there, a gaggle of nuns, clerics and others formed a queque to get autographs, photos, etc., from the boxing superstar. Suddenly, Manny was out of sight.

Ramos heard one nun going into a mild panic about the disappearance. It's okay, Ramos told her in Tagalog, he just stepped into a private conference, he will return to meet, greet, sign and take pictures.

"Oh, spit," the nervoso nun said.

When nuns want your photo, your autograph, it does kind of make you a big deal. (Shoutout to my late aunt, Sister St. Andrew of Nova Scotia.)

I think Christmas time would be a perfect time for Manny to take wife Jinkee and their four kids to the Holy See

So what do you say, Father Marlon and colleagues?

Can't you guys ring your boss and have him call the Big Boss?

This is from Wikipedia on the values Pope Benedict XVI holds dear:

During his papacy, Benedict XVI has emphasized what he sees as a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christian values in response to increasing de-Christianisation and secularisation in many developed countries. For this reason, he proclaims relativism's denial of objective truth—and more particularly, the denial of moral truths—as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance for the Catholic Church and for humanity of contemplating God's redemptive love and has reaffirmed the "importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work."

The Pope and Pacquiao, it's a match made in heaven.

Maybe Manny can bring Bob Arum along with him. And aspiring rabbi and world junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman as well.

That would be ecumenical to the core.

I just hope that, when the photos and videos roll out worlwide, we don't get some heathens asking, "Who's the guy with the big white hat standing next to Manny Pacquiao?"

Or, what if, Kelly "Ghost" Pavlik, who I assume to be Catholic, went along?

He is the world middleweight champion and under Arum's aegis.

No, I won't go there. No cracks about the Father, the Son and the (Holy) Ghost.

Better to leave it here.

Manny Pacquiao keeps the faith and, with the Pope's blessing, he might spread it as well.

He is the World's Most Famous Catholic.

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