Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao may be the hero of countless boxing fans, but he is also a committed Christian. At a recent pre-fight press conference, he told reporters: "Everything I have accomplished, God has given me this strength. I used to sleep in the street, hungry, and I cannot imagine that the Lord raised me to this level of life."
Pacquiao is a Filipino world champion professional boxer. At 32 he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has also been involved in basketball, acting, and is a retired singer. He is the first and only eight-division world champion, in which he has won ten world titles, as well as the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes. According to Forbes, he was the 14th highest paid athlete in the world as of 2013.
He was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). He is also a three-time The Ring and BWAA "Fighter of the Year," winning the award in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011. He is currently ranked number three on the Ring pound-for-pound list.
But despite all this success, several years ago he found himself on his knees declaring 'I am not worthy in your sight'. Crying and feeling as though he wanted to die: he said, "Lord just guide me. I am not a talented person".
Though he started life as a Catholic, attended church, and referred to God often - it was after this dramatic encounter with God over four years ago that his life really changed. He describes his previous life as filled with "women, drinking and gambling" though he has been married for nearly 15 years. He says that he thinks he was headed for Hell.
"I heard the voice of God and I saw two angels," he said of his conversion experience. "When I heard the voice of God I felt like I died. ... I was in the middle of the forest 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."