In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Manny Pacquaio offered further clarification of the controversy that broke out last week after the Filipino superstar was asked about his stance on same-sex marriage.
“Did I know that my answer on legalizing same-sex marriage would create controversy? Yes,” said Pacquiao. “It’s a controversial issue. The reporter asked me about my stance on it, and I answered his question. I am against legalizing same-sex marriage. That was all I said.”
Some reports following the statement incorrectly attributed inflammatory bible verses, which called for homosexuals to be put to death, to Pacquiao, resulting in widespread outrage aimed at the fighter.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) has been very vocal of the renewed commitment to his faith in the lead-up to defending his WBO welterweight title against challenger Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) on June 9, but says the lifestyle changes he has made are separate from his fight preparation.
“When I committed my life to the Lord, I gave up many things that were not in keeping with what the Bible teaches,” said Pacquiao, referring to previous habits of gambling and womanizing, among other things. “Boxing is a job, and I do not look at it as anything more than that. It will not affect my job.”
Following training at the Wild Card Boxing Club during the day, Pacquiao frequently hosts bible-study sessions at his home in Los Angeles.
Pacquaio’s “spiritual advisor,” Pastor Jeric Soriano, leads the sessions, which include multimedia presentations and a band playing music between walls hung with dartboards and paintings of the fighter.
Not much is known about Soriano himself, though he made a career as a commercial director and comes from a show-business family in the Philippines. His father was the well-known Filipino actor and dancer Nestor de Villa, and his son is director Paul Soriano.
Photos / Chris Farina – Top Rank