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    Leave religion out of this, pleads Pacquiao as debate over 'new faith' simmers back home

    Dec 12, 2012

    HOLLYWOOD – Manny Pacquiao said it was all down him on why he lost by knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Religion had nothing to do with it.

    “Huwag nating idamay ang religion,” said Pacquiao, breaking his silence on an issue that has simmered back home in the days after the Las Vegas fight, with not a few people blaming his reported change of faith for the most devastating loss of the Filipino ring hero's career.

    Already known as a deeply religious person, Pacquiao has turned to Bible reading last year and in the past several months was often seen preaching the word of God in the company of Protestant pastors.

    Although Pacquiao did his usual ritual of kneeling in one corner and praying the moment he climbed the ring, fight fans in his predominantly Catholic country have noticed the absence of the rosary that the boxing hero had worn unfailingly around his neck in past fights.

    Pacquiao has likewise done away with the pre-fight mass that he used to host in a Las Vegas hotel in favor of a service. He also was no longer seen doing the sign of the cross, another Catholic ritual, during the entire fight.

    Even his mother, Mommy Dionisia, has in several television interviews put the blame on his son’s activities with a new religious group for the devastating loss.

    Pacquiao, however, insisted he only has himself to blame for the loss after he walked into a Marquez "lucky punch," leading to the knockdown.

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    "Walang kasalanan ang Diyos," he said. "Lahat naman ng tama ginawa natin. (Kaya) huwag na nating i-involve ang religion dito."

    As for her mother's vehement opposition to his 'new faith,' the boxing superstar said he plans to talk to Mommy Dionesia to thresh out the issue upon his return.

    “Mag-uusap na lang kami tungkol dun,” said Pacquiao. 

    At posting time, it was not certain if Pacquiao will visit the Quiapo church in Manila upon his return on Wednesday (Manila time), a tradition he has kept, win or lose, in his past fights. 

    Calls made by to Quiapo church's Rector's office confirmed that there were no masses scheduled for Pacquiao on Wednesday.

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