MANILA - Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said on Monday that he had been told by God in a dream to retire soon, potentially raising doubt over hopes of a fight with American Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao, regarded as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, told radio station DZMM in an interview also broadcast over the channel's Teleradyo TV show, that he had decided to give up all his vices after the dream.
"I will not stay long in boxing because he said: 'You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful,'" said a serious-looking Pacquiao, who has won eight titles in as many weight divisions.
Pacquiao, 33, said he had the dream earlier this year but declined to reveal how many more fights he would contest before stepping down.
But when asked if his new-found religious fervour would hurt his boxing, Pacquiao replied: "I will do my work inside the ring."
The boxer, who has translated his sports fame into huge riches, a showbiz career and election to parliament, said he believed he had been chosen by God to use his fame to spread the Christian message.
"When I speak, a lot of people listen," he said.
He said he would make a major announcement on a religious note later this month.
Pacquiao, who has a 54-3 win-loss record with two draws, stakes his World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown against undefeated American Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on June 9.
Mayweather and Pacquiao have never had a fight and boxing fans have long sought a matchup. The pair were in negotiations for a mega-fight to be held later this year but talks fell through.
Formerly a heavy gambler who was fond of late-night parties, Pacquiao announced in January that he had become a changed man after his religious vision.