Pacquiao says he respects Nike’s decision to drop him

0218-Pacquiao-ap“Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?”

MANILA, Philippines — Boxing star Manny Pacquiao said today he respects Nike’s decision to sever ties with him over his comments about gay relationships but stood pat on his opposition to same-sex marriage and added he’s happy that “a lot of people were alarmed by the truth.”

The American apparel giant said Wednesday it will no longer have any business dealings with the Filipino boxing champion, adding that it found his comments “abhorrent.” Nike says it strongly opposes any kind of discrimination.

“Whatever decision Nike makes is its decision and I respect that and its sponsorship of me now only involves my clothes for my fight,” Pacquiao told reporters during a break in his training for an April 9 bout with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas.

“Our contract has already ended aside from sponsoring the boxing,” he said.

The Bible-quoting Pacquiao, 37, has become an active Christian in recent years and has publicly declared his opposition to same-sex unions. When he was asked by a local TV network as a Senate candidate about his views on same-sex marriages, Pacquiao came under fire for his curt reply.

“It’s just common sense,” Pacquiao said in the remarks posted online by the TV5 network this week.
Animals, he said, were better because they recognize gender differences, and “if you have male-to-male or female-to-female (relationships), then people are worse than animals.”

Among those who reacted strongly were popular gay celebrities in the country, some of whom declared they have lost their adulation for him.

Even his American boxing promoter Bob Arum has criticized Pacquiao.


Army boxing team uses fists to face fears

Almost without fail, about 30 seconds remain in any given round when Ray Barone‘s voice booms from his boxer’s corner. “Let’s go, Army — let’s go.”

It’s to motivate, but also a baritone warning of how much time remains in this square, roped island in which cadets get real-world experience and military training.

The United States Military Academy‘s boxing club team is not merely for entertaining men and women swilling $5 beers at a Holiday Inn ballroom in Saratoga Springs. It’s six fist-flying minutes of studying fear management, a critical mission for West Point cadets, says Barone.

“I get calls from guys all of the time who are in the military now,” Barone said. “They’ve been shot at. Stories that will break your heart. And they’re saying, ‘Coach, boxing helped me through it. It helped me lead my soldiers. It helped me survive when it was rough.'”

Barone pauses for a second before quietly adding, “Because it’s pretty rough in there.”

“There” is the boxing ring. It’s also often the Capital Region. Barone, a 1978 Siena graduate, regularly brings his team here for competition.

In January a small group competed at Green Tech High. Earlier this month, Barone brought five boxers a little farther north to Saratoga. A return is tentatively planned Feb. 27 to Quail Street gym in Albany.

Barone, in black pants and a short-sleeved black Army shirt along with pristine white sneakers, looks all business. He stands 6-foot-4, sharp jaw, brick-sized fists. He became an actual professor of pugilism — his title was boxing course director — and also the school’s volunteer head coach since he retired from two decades of military duty in 1999.

Making Sense of Boxing’s Muddled Heavyweight Division

These days, there’s a fairly good chance if you ask a random stranger on the street who the current heavyweight champion of the world is, that the poor soul, caught unaware by your casual candor, will simply stare back at you in a state of quizzical bewilderment.

That, or if the person is under the age of 30, he or she might simply offer you the name of a mixed martial artist.

At one point in time, everyone knew the name of boxing’s heavyweight champion. The honors bestowed upon those wearing the crown, the likes of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, rivaled those of the world’s most glamorous sporting celebrities.

But today?

Boxing’s heavyweight championship doesn’t hold the same amount of swagger. Perhaps Wladimir Klitschko’s long reign as champion, coupled with a dearth of talent from this side of the planet, was just too much to overcome. Or maybe there just wasn’t enough action.

Or maybe we’re being impatient.

Whatever the case, changes are afoot in boxing’s glamour division, and Bleacher Report is here to help make sense of it all.


Former world champion McGowan dies

The Hamilton fighter won Scottish, British, European and Empire titles before defeating Italy’s Salvatore Burruni at Wembley over 15 rounds to land the world flyweight title in 1966.

In McGowan’s next fight, he won the British and Empire title at bantamweight when he defeated Alan Rudkin, again at Wembley.

He won 32 of his 40 professional fights before retiring in 1969.

McGowan had been in poor health in recent years and was living in a nursing home in Bellshill.

He died peacefully at Monklands Hospital on Monday night.


  • *Ruslan Chagaev is the WBA “regular” heavyweight champion and Luis Ortiz is the WBA interim heavyweight champion
  • *Beibut Shumenov is the WBA interim cruiserweight champion
  • *Juergen Braehmer is the WBA “regular” light heavyweight champion and
    Felix Valera is the WBA interim light heavyweight champion
  • *Giovanni De Carolis is the WBA “regular” super middleweight champion
  • *Daniel Jacobs is the WBA “regular” middleweight champion and Alfonso Blanco is the WBA interim middleweight champion
  • **Gennady Golovkin is the WBC interim middleweight champion