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Defeated boxer Pacquiao keeps faith, as do his fans
Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to American Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night, but the devout fighter is keeping the faith as do his fans. - photo by Mark A. Kellner
After he lost the latest "fight of the century" to undefeated American heavyweight Floyd Mayweather Jr., Saturday night, Filipino boxer (and legislator) Manny Pacquiao went to church.

Granted the service was not at the usual Shepherd of the Hills Church campus in West Los Angeles that he attends when in the U.S., but rather in the Light Nightclub at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay hotel. Actors Jim Caviezel and Stephen Baldwin were among the 400 worshippers in attendance, according to

"Tears were shed; some overcome by the message of the sermon, while others in mourning for the defeat the Philippine icon suffered," the website reported.

The fighter, who said a "born again" experience three years ago changed his life and his boxing, was philosophical about the outcome.

"Thank you for coming here, thank you also for your support last night. But you have to understand that the plans and ways of God are higher than our ways. The most important thing is, we have Jesus in our life. One day we will be with him in heaven," Pacquiao said.

According to Philippines-based, whose report quoted Pacquiao speaking a mixture of Tagalog and English, the fighter said he wanted to call Mayweather, whose lifestyle might be the antithesis of Pacquiao's, after the fight and invite him to a Bible study. But, he said in Tagalog, Mayweather's phone was turned off.

In January, Pacquiao told his conversion story, which, he said, included the presence of heavenly beings.

"I heard the voice of God and I saw two angels," he told the website. "When I heard the voice of God I felt like I died. I was in the middle of the forrest and I was kneeling and praying with my face on the ground and then I saw a light, a very white light and I heard the voice."

That led to changes in his life, Charisma magazine reported, citing Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's manager, who said the now-converted boxer sold his nightclub, quit drinking and stopped cheating on his wife.

In turn, the magazine said, the Philippines' national favorite may have ambitions beyond the boxing ring.

"Manny won a seat in the House of Representatives a few years ago, representing the province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013 to the 16th Congress of the Philippines. Some believe he may be a candidate for president of the Philippines one day," the magazine reported.

Pacquiao's fans in his homeland have kept the faith, as well. According to The Philippines Star, Rep. Evelio Leonardia said that despite his defeat, Filipinos are proud of the boxer because "throughout this saga in his long career as a world champion boxer, Pacquiao showed tremendous courage, grace and faith qualities that will long live in us even as the last of the boxing belts are gone."

And Pacquiao may yet have another opportunity to exercise his faith in the ring: the story led with Pacquiao's declaration that he wants a rematch against Mayweather.
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