Opponents will continue to line up for Manny Pacquiao, but the biggest threat to the boxing future of the Filipino superstar might have called him out this week: Pacquiao has been advised by his bishop to give up the sport.
Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Manilahas asked Pacquiao to retire from boxing, which he considers an un-Christian ativity.
"I don't approve of boxing because you are hurting the other," the Catholic bishop told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "Every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you box someone and punch him, it's like you've also punched the Holy Spirit … the temple.
"What did the Lord say? Love thy neighbor," Gutierrez said. "So I never approve of boxing."
Gutierrez said he has told the Knights of Columbus not to sponsor boxing events because, "It is un-Christian to hurt others."
He is not alone in his beliefs. In 2005, Civilta Cattolica, a leading Jesuit journal in Rome that reflects the official view of the Vatican, decried boxing to be "immoral," stating that the sport is based on violence and run by business interests that are interested in cashing in on the suffering boxers inflict upon each other.
"I have for a long time advised (Pacquiao to retire)," said Gutierrez, who characterizes Pacquiao as a friend. "He just said 'Opo.' He was saying, "You have your (way) … I have mine."
In November, Gutierrez called Pacquiao's boxing career a hindrance to service to his constituents in his congressional district.
"It really hinders. How can you serve full-time if you are practicing and your focus is boxing?" he asked. "The preparation takes months, and the training is not easy."
Gutierrez declined to say whether Pacquiao has donated to the church, saying, "Never mind about that. I never ask him for anything."
Dennis Taylor is editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com and co-host of The Ringside Boxing Show.