Gay boxer calls Pacquiao 'ignorant' over anti-LGBT comments
MANILA, Philippines – Orlando Cruz, the first openly gay professional boxer, isn't pleased with Manny Pacquiao's recent comments about homosexuals and same-sex marriage.
The 34-year-old junior lightweight contender from Puerto Rico told Rappler that he "felt respect for [Pacquiao] but now I feel nothing" after the Filipino boxing legend said gay people were "worse than animals" in a viral video released by Bilang Pilipino.
"I’m ashamed of it," said Cruz, who came out in 2013, in a conversation over Instagram.
"We live in an open world where people are mentally more educated about the gay issue, not as ignorant as Manny by the words he spoke."
Pacquiao, a born again Christian and two-term congressman who is seeking a Senate seat in the May elections, initially doubled down on the matter and cited Bible scriptures on his Instagram account to back up his comments.
But he later released a video on his social media accounts, where he apologized.
Cruz doubts the sincerity of his retraction, however.
"It is disingenuous," said Cruz. "[He] does everything for his political views."
Pacquiao immediately felt the hit to his marketability, with Nike severing ties on Thursday, February 18 after a decade together. Wonderful Pistachios, which had sponsored Pacquiao in the past, issued a statement saying it was "not currently affiliated with Manny Pacquiao nor do his views align with ours."
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum also denounced the comments, saying that he found them "reprehensible."
Cruz, whose professional record stands at 22-4-1 (11 KOs), is scheduled to fight Romulo Koasicha on March 4 in Tampa, Florida.
Pacquiao, who said his next fight with Timothy Bradley Jr on April 9 will be his last, is currently in General Santos City, training with Freddie Roach.
When asked what Pacquiao could learn from this incident, Cruz said, "Think before speaking." – Rappler.com