Religion had nothing to do with Pacquiao's loss – bishop

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at Dec 10 2012 01:22 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2012 07:08 AM

What if both boxers are Catholic, then who wins? - OVC

MANILA, Philippines – Former Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Oscar V. Cruz does not believe Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao's change in religion led to his shocking knockout loss at the hands of rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico.

"Naku naman, masyadong mababaw 'yun," Cruz said in a text message sent to "Kaya natalo si (Pacquiao) ay pagkat napuruhan siya ni Marquez. Ganon lang."

Pacquiao experienced a renewal of faith earlier this year, which influenced his decision to give up vices like gambling and drinking.

But his mother, Dionesia Pacquiao, believes her son has changed his religion and blames this for his loss to Marquez last Saturday in Las Vegas.

"Sa aking side, gusto ko, huwag n'yang iwan ang sign of the cross. 'Yun ang nakayaman sa kanya noon," Mommy D told radio DZMM Sunday.

Archbishop Cruz sees no connection between Pacquiao's renewed faith and his boxing prowess, however, and disputed Dionesia'’s claim.

"And as far as boxing is concerned – or other sports – paano kung pareho Catholic ang nasa ring? Sino ang ipapatalo ng Diyos?" Cruz pointed out.

Marquez drilled Pacquiao with a "perfect punch" to the jaw late in the sixth round, sending the Filipino boxer face-first to the canvas, where he was motionless for several moments.

Dionesia said that Pacquiao falling face down in the sixth round had a deeper meaning.

"Ibig sabihin, Manny, wag mong iwanan ito," she said while holding up a red, white and blue rosary, which she claimed Pacquiao left behind before the fight.

In previous fights, Pacquiao would put the rosary around his neck and pray in one of the corners as part of his pre-fight ritual. He did not bring a rosary to the fight against Marquez, and some boxing analysts believe the change in ritual may have been a factor in the bout.

For Cruz, however, the rituals only showed devotion on the part of the athlete. "Devotion 'yun, pampalakas ng loob. Hindi naman kung wala ka noon, sure na talo ka na," he said.

Cruz advised Mommy D to let Pacquiao be as far as his boxing career is concerned.

"Basta tuloy lang niya ang pag-aalaga sa anak niya. Alam na ni Pacquiao ang ginagawa niya," he said.