Boxing world champ: Jerusalem is my favorite city

In visit to Israel, Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao reveals he is learning Hebrew, and recites Priestly Blessing.

Ari Yashar,

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao
Reuters

World boxing champion and politician Manny Pacquiao, affectionately known as "Pacman," is currently on his fourth visit to Israel with his wife Jinkee, and during the trip he has revealed his deep love for the land.

The 36-year-old has a long list of achievements under his belt - from being the first and only eight-division world champion having won ten world titles, and being named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s, to being elected to the Philippine House of Representatives.

In an interview with Channel 2 published Friday, "Pacman" was asked what his favorite city is and immediately responded "Jerusalem," adding, "when you're a Christian it's very important."

Pacquiao has been recognized in recent years as a close supporter of Israel, and even went so far as to name his young son Israel.

"I'm practicing Hebrew, and especially the prayers in Hebrew," he said, before reciting the Priestly Blessing said by the Kohanim.

The boxing legend has posted pictures from his stops at Christian sites in Israel on the social networks, and noted how he responds to some fans who have criticized his visit to Israel.

"I'm promoting peace and not fighting each other. I explain it to them on Facebook that if we believe in G-d then we have love in our hearts because G-d is love."

Pacquiao grew up in a very poor family "with nothing," but "when I kept on winning in boxing I realized, 'oh, I can be a champion.'"

Indeed, the boxing champ was ranked by Forbes as the second highest paid athlete in the world in 2015 at $160 million, just behind his rival Floyd Mayweather Jr., and head and shoulders above top soccer and basketball stars.

He showed his great generosity by paying for 28 people to come with him on his trip to Israel, and showed even greater generosity by handing out $100 bills to homeless people in Jerusalem.

"I will never forget my life before. Every time I see poor people, and people sleeping in the street I feel their feeling, I know their hearts because I've been there," said Pacquiao.

Noting on his highly touted title match with Mayweather half a year ago, which was decided as a win for Mayweather, he accused his opponent of "just running around the ring" to get the win and the money, noting that his own ethic is very different.








top