On Saturday night, with 1 second left in the sixth round, Juan Martinez landed a wicked right that sent Manny Pacquiao face first into the canvas,dealing Pacquiao his second loss in a row. It was one of the biggest shockers in recent sports history,
Prior to his loss on June 9, 2012, against Timothy Bradley, Pacquiao was 54-3-2, and had not lost in more than seven years.
A few months prior to his fight with Bradley, Pacquiao became a Christian. His conversion appears genuine if one is to judge by the fruits of repentance.
But after losing two in a row, some, including Pacquiao’s Catholic mother, questioned whether Pacquiao’s conversion to Christianity (or as his mother said, “since the Protestant pastors came into his life“), contributed to is losses. I think Pacquiao’s mother may be correct, but for the wrong reason.
First, with regard to Pacquiao’s loss to Bradley, the consensus among experts who scored the fight (except the three who officially scored it) was that Pacquiao clearly won. In other words, Pacquiao lost because he got the wrong judges, not the wrong religion.
Pacquiao lost to Marquez because Marquez landed the elusive, once-in-a-career, perfect punch right as Pacquiao was stepping into it. Call it a fluke, a lightening strike.
Neither loss had anything to do with Pacquiao becoming soft because of his religious beliefs. Both had everything to do with something beyond Pacquiao’s control.
Now consider Exodus 21:18-19:
“If men quarrel and one hits the other with a stone or with his fist and he does not die but is confined to bed, 19 the one who struck the blow will not be held responsible if the other gets up and walks around outside with his staff; however, he must pay the injured man for the loss of his time and see that he is completely healed.”
As Gary North has written, “Each man is made in God’s image, and men, acting as private citizens, do not have the right to attempt to attack God indirectly by attacking His image in other men.” This prohibition, North argues, would apply to boxing and other similar contests, from the gladiatorial contests of the Romans to the dueling of the 18th century.
When I saw this Scripture years ago and realized its implications I never saw boxing the same way. In fact, the sport has disgusted me ever since.
Now, I don’t presume to be able to discern which events should be ascribed to the sovereignty of God, but I can say that if these last two losses cause Manny Pacquiao to reconsider whether beating the hell out of his God-image bearing opponent is consistent with his being a Jesus-follower, I don’t see how that could be a bad thing. GS