LOS ANGELES – The animosity between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr may be more than just professional, but the Filipino hero is not discounting the possibility of the two becoming friends outside the ring once their showdown at the MGM Grand Arena is over.
“Wala namang problem,” said Pacquiao, 36, when asked about them becoming chummy someday.
“Ang gusto ko nga after the fight magkaroon kami ng conversation, usap-usap lang para ma-share ko yung faith ko sa kanya,” said the fighting congressman from Sarangani, who’s a devout Christian.
If ever, it will not be the first time a former rival becomes a friend of Pacquiao, who has built lasting friendships with former opponents like Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Miguel Cotto.
Can his friends' list someday include Mayweather?
Since a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight was first broached late in 2009, both camps have made no effort to hide their dislike for each other. It reached a point where the group of Floyd, including his father Mayweather Sr., accused the Pacman of being into performance-enhancing drugs.
The Filipino hero didn't take the accusation sitting down, filing a case which has since been settled out of court.
The May 2 (May 3, Manila time) showdown would not have been sealed if not fora chance encounter the two boxing superstars had during a Miami Heat game late in January.
Despite the hostility, Pacquiao said he’s not about to judge Mayweather.
“Nung nakausap ko siya, nakita ko ‘yung pagkatao niya,” he said. “Only God can change his heart. We can’t condemn him.”
Someone as popular as Mayweather can also influence a lot of people positively, Pacquiao said.
“Pag siya nagbago and nag-follow kay God, marami siyang ma-inspire at mas marami siyang madadala. Matutuwa si Lord dahil he can share the gospel to people who don’t know Jesus,” stressed the eight-time world division champion.
But when asked about their battle inside the ring, Pacquiao said that’s a totally different story.
“Not in the ring, dahil may trabaho kaming dapat gawin,” he said.