Something very different has been occurring in the sports world over the last few months. Not only are men with impressive physiques, brilliant minds and fearless hearts dominating the sports scene; but the entire landscape has been completely shaken up by the emergence of the spiritual athlete.
It all started last year when devout Christian Tim Tebow shocked the world by leading the lowly Denver Broncos into the playoffs despite his poor throwing ability. Continuing the phenomenon has been NBA point guard and also dedicated Christian Jeremy Lin, who has revived the New York Knicks despite being cut by two teams and even almost cut by the Knicks as well before he resurrected their season with his stunning play.
These two men have literally taken over sports headlines everywhere not only due to their inspiring performances, but also due to their firm commitment to their faith. It is rare that an athlete who is truly exceptional comes along and is very deep into religion at the same time. It is in part due to this that these two men have simply skyrocketed in terms of popularity as they are not the norm.
You can now add boxing megastar Manny Pacquiao to the list of superstar athletes that also have dedicated their personal lives to God. The only difference is that whereas the other men are spurred on to perform better and stronger due to their dedication to their beliefs, Manny is actually thinking about stopping boxing due to his spiritual commitments.
It has been reported in recent weeks that Pacquiao has drastically changed his personal life due to his newfound beliefs. He has apparently sold his casino, given up rooster fighting, stopped drinking alcohol and stated that he is leaning towards retiring; as hitting another man in the face is the not best thing for a spiritual man to do per his thinking. Manny is scheduled to battle Tim Bradley on June 9 of this year; however he has indicated that it could be his last fight or maybe just one more after it.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has expressed concern over this ordeal and has point blank said that he will advise Manny to retire if he senses the spark to fight within him is gone.
Whereas Tebow and Lin can perform their crafts without physically intending to hurt the opponent, Manny does not have that same luxury. In order to continue excelling in his craft, Pacquiao must maintain a mindset of wanting to inflict as much physical damage on his opponent as possible. Can he do that without sacrificing his beliefs? Heavyweight great Evander Holyfield was renowned for his deep religious beliefs however he had no issue laying out beatings on fellow boxers. Manny may not be able to do the same based on how he said he feels.
Gifted athletes who perform in God’s honor have in recent times become absolutely huge in terms of mainstream popularity, and in boxing there is perhaps no fighter gifted with such a sensational power/speed combo as Manny is. It would definitely be a shame if Manny’s devoted belief in the Almighty leads him to hang up the gloves sooner than necessary, as just like Tebow and Lin he should be able to spectacularly display his talents while at same time fulfilling his spiritual needs.
However true happiness comes from within, and if Pacquiao’s new spiritual outlook on life leads him to be happier if he’s not trying to bust another man’s face up then he has every right to do what makes him happy. It is always a spectacle in watching Manny dazzle in the ring and one can only wish him much success not only in whatever is left of his ring career, but more importantly much success in his everyday life away from the ring as that at the end of the day is what will bring him true happiness and bliss.