Manny Pacquiao, trainer say boxer was distracted before last fight


Manny Pacquiao’s skyrocketing popularity created chaos that no mere mortal could be expected to balance.

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 knockouts) appeared more human than ever in his last fight, however.

As he prepares now for his next bout June 9 against Timothy Bradley, Pacquiao and his trainer acknowledge Everyman’s frailty has been his most imposing contender.

“All the distractions caught up to Manny in his last fight,” Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said Thursday of the boxer’s narrow decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.

Roach reeled off a list of adjustments Pacquiao, 33, has made since the Marquez bout, the most notable being saving his marriage to wife, Jinkee, who Roach said served Pacquiao with divorce papers on the eve of the Marquez fight.

“He’s given away his cockfighting farm [in the Philippines], sold his casino and his nightclub,” Roach said.

Roach described a pre-Marquez climate that included “girls and everything that goes with it,” late nights of gambling and excessive physical wear playing too many games of basketball.

“Now, he’s back with his wife, reading the Bible every day, and he’s given up basketball,” Roach said at Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Club, where Pacquiao has resumed training after a stint in the Philippines.

Pacquiao said he was drawn to read a Bible that someone presented to him as a gift just before the Marquez bout.

“If a house is divided against itself,” Pacquiao said in repeating a favorite passage, “that house cannot stand.”

The 28-year-old Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) of Cathedral City is further reason to get the house in order.

“In Pacquiao’s last four fights, he’s looked lackadaisical,” Bradley said Thursday. “He’ll have to dig down deep to beat me. This is my only chance to be a superstar.”

Roach tells Pacquiao after four consecutive victories by decision that “he needs a knockout in this fight.”

“We’ll see, I’ll do my best,” Pacquiao said. “It’s an important fight. I want to … prove I can still fight.”

When asked about transgressions of the recent past, Pacquiao said, “My other life is now the Bible. I follow the Commandments of God. When I read the Bible, I found the manual of life.”

As for boxing, Pacquiao said his rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. proved “he’s still fast,” winning a decision over Miguel Cotto on Saturday, but added he remains skeptical of Mayweather’s intentions to make the super-fight the sports world wants.

“When he offered me only $40 million, I knew he didn’t want the fight,” Pacquiao said, estimating U.S. pay-per-view alone would generate at least $100 million. “And when he says the fight will never happen now, that’s because he doesn’t want the fight.

“I’m hoping the fight will happen. I’m willing to meet him face to face.”