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Opinions of Monday, 4 May 2015

Columnist: Antwi-Boasiako, Kwaku

The Money Team (TMT) vs. The Christian Team (TCT)

"This is God's will. This is the fight that will glorify God. I believe, God will deliver him into my hands. His defeat would make him realize that fame, money and material possessions are nothing without God in our life." Manny Pacquiao.

"Going to be a great day in sports history today! I believe that today an example will be made of what happens when you use your talents to glorify God vs. using them to glorify man. Personally, I support Manny Pacquiao because not only does he give all the glory of his success to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, but he also acknowledges that he is not in his position for himself, but for all the change he can use his power and influence to bring to his country & people." Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, Action Chapel, Ghana.

The fight between Floyd Mayweather Jnr. and Manny Pacquiao was strangely billed in several quarters as 'Good vs. Evil', with Pacquiao being the Good and Mayweather the Evil. Pacquiao has been seen as a Christian who publicly gives glory to Jesus for his boxing and other achievements while Mayweather has been vilified for being materialistic and flaunting his wealth. Mayweather received boos and catcalls during all the major publicity events leading up to his unanimous points win over Pacquiao in the early hours of Sunday, May 3, 2015.

In Ghana, many people answer to the question 'how are you' with 'By God's Grace' or any other religious version or in any other language. When people 'have' wealth, they will attribute it to God – weather the wealth was legitimately made or not. Anybody who fails to toe this 'norm' is branded either arrogant or tagged as having made their money through juju or drugs or some other illegal means. So I'm not particularly surprised that many religious people were queuing up to support Pacquiao and to wish for Mayweather's fall. Unfortunately for them, Mayweather won. So 'Evil' triumphed over 'Good' on Sunday morning. I bet some of those religious people may feel heavy in their eyes for lack of sleep last night, watching the boxing match and in their hearts with disappointment that they'll have to tear up their prepared sermon of Good vs. Evil. They would be disappointed that their prayer for Pacquiao and faith in God have both been severely challenged by Mayweather's win!

But let's examine this Good vs. Evil tagline that characterized the build-up to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The Bible enjoins everybody to work and eat of the fruits of their labour. The Bible says whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might. What has Mayweather done wrong than to train hard, work hard, box hard and live the 'Divine Dream'? In Ghana and elsewhere, pastors drive in posh cars, travel in first class or have private jets, live presidential lifestyles while majority of church members live in poverty. Pacquiao comes from a relatively poorer country compared to America. How he spends his money will naturally be different from how Mayweather spends his. Does that make Mayweather 'Evil'? Our Archbishops and Pastors wine, dine and pray for corrupt and thieving politicians and ask Ghanaians to support these so-called leaders of our country with an ailing economy. Yet they trash Mayweather who earns an honest living and choose to flaunt his wealth? Can any of our religious leaders ask the politician friends to publicly declare their assets, show the source of their assets and show they've paid all taxes on those assets? At least Mayweather can flaunt his wealth without fear of the taxman or FBI. How many Ghanaian politicians and their cronies can do same? So why do our religious leaders feel comfortable cozying up to these politicians but find it easy to trash Mayweather? Several scriptural verses talk about hard work, training, developing your skills and using them to create wealth. Whatever you believe in, one thing I can assure you is that you are NOT likely to become wealthy simply by going to church everyday, praying, paying offering and tithes to the church, professing your religiosity at every opportunity and obeying religious leaders. If that were so, there would be lots and lots of billionaires in Ghana by now. And if that were so, Pacquiao would have won the fight against Mayweather. The Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was not about Good vs. Evil. It was about who had the better skills, who had trained harder and who was composed on the night to better deploy their skills and training.

Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako
Accra, Ghana