Filipino boxing champion Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao is sticking to a rigorous training schedule in preparation for his highly anticipated fight with Floyd Mayweather. However, he usually leaves his Sundays free for church visits and spiritual development.
Pacquiao, along with his family, visited the Westside location of the Shepherd of the Hills Church on Sunday. He talked with Pastor Dudley Rutherford on stage, where he talked about his life before he turned to Christianity; his entire talk has been posted by the church in an online video.
"The Bible will teach you, guide you," Pacquiao said. "The Bible will direct your path, where you're going."
According to a report from CBSLA.com, the boxer converted to Christianity four years ago after hearing a sermon from the church's pastor. Pacquiao noted that being exposed to the limelight opened him to various temptations, including drinking, gambling and womanizing.
"That was my life before, and now my life (has) big changes," Pacquiao said.
CBSLA.com reported that he credited both his wife and his Christian faith with changing him for the better. According to Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN News, the boxing icon explained why spiritual development was important in his life.
"It's important for us, not only me, but for all of us to have a strong spiritual guide because every day in our life, there's a lot of temptation," Pacquiao said.
The pastor contended that Pacquiao's decision to dedicate his Sunday activities to both church and family would make him a better fighter.
"That's a Biblical principle, that you take one day a week that's called the Sabbath, and you rest," Rutherford said. "If you rest, you get more done in a week than if you work seven days. You're stronger, you're quicker, [and] you're more prepared to fight."
In the video, Rutherford asked Pacquiao who he was fighting for.
"I'm fighting for the fans, the Filipino people," Pacquiao said. "Of course, I'm fighting for God."
Rutherford then asked the boxer to elaborate on how it was like to grow up in the Philippines, a country where Pacquiao grew up in extreme poverty.
"My life before, when I was young, I didn't know boxing," Pacquiao said. "Nobody helped my mother [and] my family to earn money and buy food. We decided to put my name on the list and fight. I know that if I put my name there and fight, I will make money even though I lose."
Pacquiao added that he was paid 100 Philippine pesos for winning the fight, which amounted to around $2.
"If you lose, you get 50 [Philippine] pesos, which is equivalent to $1," Pacquiao said. "I was blessed because I won the fight and got $2!"
Even though he didn't know much about boxing in his youth, Pacquiao stated that he was able to feed his family thanks to the sport.
"I'm happy because I'm earning money to give to my mother and to buy food," Pacquiao said. "Our life is sometimes we eat, sometimes not. I experienced this with my brother and mother together in one small room. "
Pacquiao added that whenever they lacked food at home, his mother would say to the family to "just drink water and survive."
"That's the time when I realized I had to work and help my mother," Pacquiao said. "I was doing everything at 12 years old, including selling flowers, to earn money to give to my mother."
Despite the hardship and extreme challenges in finding food, Pacquiao learned a valuable life lesson from his mother that he carries on to this day.
"Just believe in God. Trust God," Pacquiao said. "Don't do any bad things to other people. Don't steal. That's what my mother told us."