Pacquiao: God Told Me to Retire — But Not Yet

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By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
Like St. Augustine’s prayer “God make me chaste – but not yet,” Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao’s personal conversation with God may not lead to his retirement anytime soon.

Pacquiao said in a radio interview on Monday he had a dream in which God had told him to hang up his gloves, fueling speculation he may back out of a long-anticipated fight with American Floyd Mayweather.

“I will not stay long in boxing because He said: ‘You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful’,” he told Manila’s DZMM radio.

However, his team say retirement is still a long way off.

“A few years ago the pressure for him to retire was coming from his mother,” Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda told CNN. “But recently he dreamt that God told him to retire but there’s nothing definite about his retirement either this year or next year.

“This year it’s out of the question,” Pineda said. “And I’m not even sure about next year either.”

He said a Mayweather fight would be up to the Mayweather camp, but that Pacquiao was more than ready to meet him in the ring.

“Manny is a fighter and there is still the desire,” Pineda said. “He really wants this thing with Mayweather to happen.

“He doesn’t want to retire leaving unanswered questions.”

Pacquiao, 33, has a 54-3 win-loss record with two draws and plans to pit his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against undefeated American Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on June 9.

Boxing fans have long sought a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao. The pair were in negotiations for a fight to be held later this year but talks fell through. The 34-year-old American boxer has won all 42 of his professional fights, 26 by knockout.

“People are clamoring for this fight — and it will probably be bigger than the Ali/Frazier fight. Manny still wants to prove to himself that he can beat Mayweather,” Pineda added.

Pacquiao also has an ongoing defamation suit against Mayweather, claiming the American fighter has insinuated that his success is the result of performance-enhancing drugs.

Pacquiao is the first boxer in the sport’s history to have won world titles in eight weight divisions and recently launched a successful political career after being elected to the Philippine House of Representatives in June 2010.

Formerly a heavy gambler and late-night party-goer, Philippines media reported in February that Pacquiao had renewed his commitment to his faith, shutting down a restaurant and bar he owned, selling shares in a casino and nightclub and selling his cockfighting gamecocks.

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