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Manny Pacquiao is a new man

JEREMY SCHAAP: People still want to know how you feel about losing to Timothy Bradley in a split decision on June 9. Are you over it?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. People know I won the fight. I have nothing to prove.

SCHAAP: What are your thoughts about a rematch?
I don't think boxing fans want to watch the fight again because it's one-sided fighting.

SCHAAP: So why Juan Manuel Marquez again on Dec. 8? Why a fourth fight?
PACQUIAO: We need the fourth fight because he's always claiming he won the fight, that he didn't really lose. We need the fourth fight to answer all the doubts in his mind. And also in his fans' minds.


SCHAAP: You've fought 36 rounds against Marquez. They've been very close, the three fights. They could've gone any way. You won two, and there's been one draw. What will it take for a different kind of outcome this time == a decisive outcome?
PACQUIAO: I know he knows my style: in and out, in and out. But this time I'll change my style and be more aggressive.

SCHAAP: You'll surprise the guy who has seen you more than anyone else?
PACQUIAO: Yes. He's gonna be surprised that I changed my style.

SCHAAP: A lot of people think he won the fight last year, which you won by majority decision. Your own trainer, Freddie Roach, said because that decision was so controversial, you have to knock him out this time. Do you think you have to knock him out?
PACQUIAO: If he gives me a chance to finish the fight, why not? I mean, I'm not predicting I'm going to knock him out, but I'll do my best and get back the aggressiveness I had when I was 25 or 26 years old.

SCHAAP: Why have you not been as aggressive recently as you were when you were younger?
PACQUIAO: With experience in boxing, you learn how to be a scientific boxer and how to fight easy.

SCHAAP: Roach has said you've become more religious, and he's concerned that will affect the way you fight. How do you respond to that concern?
PACQUIAO: It doesn't bother my boxing.

SCHAAP: You're the same boxer you were?
PACQUIAO: Yes.

SCHAAP: Why did you become more religious?
PACQUIAO: Because I'm reading the manual to life, which is the Bible, and I learn a lot of things there -- how to obey the law and the commandments of God and how to have eternal life.


SCHAAP: What was your life like before you found God?
PACQUIAO: I'm always praying, but it's not enough. I was drinking, committing adultery, sexual immorality, everything like that. Gambling. Careless words come out of my mouth. The Bible says we'll be judged for everything we do.

SCHAAP: You're a different man?
PACQUIAO: Yes. Whatever happens after our life here in this world, I know where I'm going. I have eternal life.

SCHAAP: And you have recommitted yourself to your marriage?
PACQUIAO: Yes, yes. It's important to be united.

SCHAAP: When you fought Marquez last year, what was the state of your marriage with Jinkee?
PACQUIAO: We're still together, but we have a lot of trials in our life.

SCHAAP: What happened the night of the last Marquez fight?
PACQUIAO: The night of the fight? Nothing. I'm winning, and my wife, she's there supporting me.

SCHAAP: It's been reported that you were late to the fight because you and Jinkee were having a fight.
PACQUIAO: We were not late.

SCHAAP: There was no argument with Jinkee about whether she would accompany you to the fight that night?
PACQUIAO: No, no.

SCHAAP: The people you've surrounded yourself with for a long time, they like to party the way you liked to party. Are the same people with you now?
PACQUIAO: The same people, but they've changed. They stopped drinking. Some of them. They drink, but not that much. I'm trying to convince them -- all of them -- to do what I'm doing.


SCHAAP: What is your favorite Bible verse?

PACQUIAO: In Ezekiel 18, verse 31 and 32, it says: "Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit & for I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord. Repent and live."

SCHAAP: Why does that mean so much to you?
PACQUIAO: Because God loves us so much. He doesn't want us to die. He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. That's what he said. I mean, if we don't have God in our life, we're considered dead.

SCHAAP: Can a fighter with religious convictions, someone who truly cares for his fellow man, have a killer instinct in the ring?
PACQUIAO: Boxing is a sport. We allow each other to hit each other, but I'm not treating my opponent like my enemy. We're doing a job to entertain people.

SCHAAP: Will you be a better fighter because of your newfound religious convictions?
PACQUIAO: What I can say is, if God is with you, who can be against you?

SCHAAP: All things are possible.
PACQUIAO: All things are possible with God.

SCHAAP: Even a fight against Floyd Mayweather?
PACQUIAO: I have no comment about him. But I'm praying for him that he will find a way of life. Because our life here in this world is temporary.

SCHAAP: Floyd accused you, essentially, of using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. What was that like for you, to be accused of that?
PACQUIAO: I'm not angry at him. I like Floyd. This is my brother. In God, in Christ Jesus.

SCHAAP: Will you fight him in 2013?
PACQUIAO: I hope that fight will happen by next year.

SCHAAP: You said that if it doesn't happen by 2013, you don't think it will ever happen.
PACQUIAO: I think so.

SCHAAP: Give me a percentage, if you can, 50 percent, 60percent, 70percent likelihood that there will be a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in 2013.
PACQUIAO: I'm 100percent willing to fight him. I already announced that on ESPN. I can agree with the sharing 45/55 for him. Whatever he wants -- the drug testing, he can suggest the rules and regulations. It's up to him.

SCHAAP: Do you think he wants to fight you?
PACQUIAO: It's hard to judge, but we'll see. It's up to him.

SCHAAP: But I'm asking you. This is a fight people have been talking about for years. And you're saying that if it doesn't happen soon, it'll probably never happen. Do you think he's going to agree to the terms that he's already set out, to which you've agreed, and that you will meet in the ring?
PACQUIAO: I cannot say anything about that because I don't know what's in his mind right now.

SCHAAP: If you two were to fight this year, what kind of a fight would it be?
PACQUIAO: It would be good. A big fight. It's gonna be a big fight, and it's what the fans want to see.

SCHAAP: What is there left for you to prove as a fighter?
PACQUIAO: To the boxing fans, I have nothing to prove. But if he wants to fight, if he's going to fight with me, there's another story for, you know, for history in boxing.

SCHAAP: Is it frustrating for you that the fight hasn't been made?
PACQUIAO: What am I going to do? It's okay for me, but the fans want that fight to happen.


SCHAAP: The fans want it more than you want it?
PACQUIAO: No, I want the fight. But what am I gonna do if we don't fight?

SCHAAP: You're 33. You've been fighting a long time. How much longer do you want to do this?
PACQUIAO: It's hard to say -- 36.

SCHAAP: There was a time when you talked about becoming the president of the Philippines. Is that something that still interests you?
PACQUIAO: Not in my mind right now. We don't know. God knows our future. I'm not running for the higher office. What I'm focusing on right now is being a congressman.

SCHAAP: Here you are, arguably the most famous athlete on the planet. One of the great fighters of all time. A champion in eight weight classes. What is there left on your list of the things you want to accomplish?
PACQUIAO: If I could go back in time, I would not skip the 115-118 [weight classes]. No, I am joking. I like giving happiness and enjoyment to the fans.

SCHAAP: What do you think of all the criticism Mayweather is getting now for not fighting you, even from some of his supposed friends like 50 Cent?
PACQUIAO: I have no comment.

SCHAAP: You won't sit here and say he's ducking you?
PACQUIAO: I'm not gonna say bad words.

SCHAAP: Those might be factual words.
PACQUIAO: I'm not gonna say words that can hurt someone. It can hurt their heart.

SCHAAP: He said things that have hurt your heart.
PACQUIAO: It's okay. The more humble you are,
the more God will lift you up.

SCHAAP: Here's the last thing, Manny: What do you consider the greatest achievement in your life?
PACQUIAO: When I found God.

SCHAAP: No more drinking?
PACQUIAO: No more drinking. No more gambling. No more girls. Only my wife. And my family. And no more bad words. Obey the commandments of God.

SCHAAP: No more vices?
PACQUIAO: No more.

SCHAAP: It's boring being Manny Pacquiao now?
PACQUIAO: No, I'm happy.

Jeremy Schaap interviewed Pacquiao on Nov. 5, 2012. Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.