Manny Pacquiao has become a more disciplined boxer and a happier person since he replaced his gambling and nightclubbing habits with increased Bible study and family time.
The Filipino southpaw has changed his ways after narrowly retaining his WBO welterweight title against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last November, says Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.
Roach describes that bout as the first bad night Pacquiao had experienced in a decade.
He says the fighter's preparation had been adversely distracted by his extravagant interests away from the ring.
"Basically all those distractions caught up with us in that last fight," Roach said in Hollywood on Monday when Pacquiao trained at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
"In the end, we had a bad night; our first bad night in ten years. It was time for a change, otherwise his career was going to be over. So he made those choices and to me they are all very good choices.
"Manny has got rid of a lot of distractions in his life and has some new distractions that are a lot better than the old ones.
"The news ones are a lot of Bible study and a lot of praying, and those are not so strenuous.
"He gave his nightclub away, he gave his casino away, he doesn't gamble anymore and he doesn't drink anymore. He and his wife are together all the time now and they are very happy together.
"Before, he had a ton of distractions. Now he is just praying; he's gone back to the Bible and it's working out very well for him. He seems like a happier and nicer person."
CLEANED UP LIFESTYLE
Pacquiao, who has won “world” titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions to cement his status as the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the world, said his decision to clean up his lifestyle had been an easy one to make.
"I just want to focus on my career, focus on praying and follow the commandments of God," the 33-year-old said while he taped up his hands in a tiny dressing room.
"No more gambling, no more drinking. Reading the Bible is to know the Bible, and I believe that the Bible is the manual for life."
For Roach, there has been only one setback since Pacquiao opted to spend more time studying his Bible.
"Manny said to me 'God doesn't want me to hurt people', but I told him that God understands that this is a sport; it's the oldest sport in the world and I think he (God) boxed, too. I might be lying a bit there, but who knows," Roach with a smile.
Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles last Saturday, having spent four weeks in the Philippines training for his next bout.
He is due to meet undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on June 9.
Roach believes the American is a challenging match-up for Pacquiao, but has predicted a victory inside the distance for his fighter.
“I think he will be overwhelmed by Manny's speed and power," said Roach, a shrewd tactician who has been uncannily accurate with his fight predictions.
"But he has a good chin and he's a tough guy. He's disciplined and his work ethic is really, really good. It's going to be a great fight as long as it lasts."