US boxer Floyd Mayweather waded into the controversy surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage Wednesday, as the Filipino superstar tried to quiet the storm.
Pacquiao sparked a flurry of headlines in an interview earlier this week by disagreeing with President Barack Obama’s view that gay couples should be allowed to marry — calling it a direct attack on the morals of society and the will of God.
The devout Christian said Wednesday he is not against homosexuality, just same-sex marriage.
"I’m not against gay people," Pacquiao said in a statement. "I have a relative who is also gay. We can’t help it if they were born that way. What I’m critical of are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God."
However his clarification was not enough to stop to another online confrontation with Mayweather. Fans of the sport have long called for the pair to match up against each other in the ring — but neither camp has agreed to the other’s demands thus far, and the pair do most of their fighting through the media.
Mayweather tweeted Wednesday evening, "I stand behind President Obama & support gay marriage. I’m an American citizen & I believe people should live their life the way they want."
In his statement earlier in the day, Pacquiao, who is training for a June 9 fight against undefeated American Timothy Bradley, also maintained he never made a reference to the Bible’s Book of Leviticus when interviewed.
The writer who conducted the interview for Examiner.com included the passage from Leviticus stating, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
Pacquiao, who is a lawmaker in his native Philippines, said, "I didn’t say that, that’s a lie … I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet."
The writer, Granville Ampong, has since said Pacquiao never referenced the passage, although his article suggested the boxer had agreed with it.
Amidst the fallout from the interview, a popular Los Angeles entertainment complex nixed an interview between the boxer and Mario Lopez of "Extra," according to KCBS-TV.
Boxing’s first-ever eight-division champion was slated to appear at The Grove Wednesday afternoon, and both men had tweeted invitations for fans to watch the filming.
The Grove, which is owned by prominent Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso, cited the 33-year-old boxer’s "intolerance" in its decision to cancel the taping.
"Based on news reports of statements made by Mr. Pacquiao we have made it be known that he is not welcome at The Grove and will not be interviewed here now or in the future," read a statement from Grove vice president of corporate affairs Bill Reich.
Fred Sternburg, a spokesman for Pacquiao, told the Los Angeles Times the boxer will be interviewed by Lopez at another location.