Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao could get distracted in his training camp over anti-gay comments. Reuters/Janis Alano

Manny Pacquiao’s homophobic comments that caused a stir among gay celebrities and rights group in the Philippines could be a huge distraction for the Filipino boxing icon as he trains for his third fight against Timothy Bradley on Apr. 9.

Pacquiao has been at the cetnre of controversy in the Philippines after the former eight-division titlist drew flak in the country for making an anti-gay remark in an interview. The 37-year-old Pacquiao compared the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to animals when talking about the issue of same-sex marriage.

“It’s only common sense. Would you see any species of animals who engage in male to male, female to female [sexual] relations?” Pacquiao said, as translated by the Inquirer. “If people then engage in male to male, female to female relations, then they are worse than animals.”

Pacquiao has since issued a statement of apology via his official Facebook page, but the controversy is expected to remain alive in the coming days or weeks, potentially disturbing the Filipino’s training camp in General Santos City. The Filipino boxer cannot afford anymore distractions, with Pacquiao already busy in his schedule of campaigning for a senatorial seat in the upcoming national election.

But in a video from Rappler’s Ryan Songalia, Pacquiao seems focus in his first workout session with trainer Freddie Roach, who believes the Filipino boxing great is feeling good after not showing any ill-effects from his surgically repaired shoulder.

“I am very happy,” Roach told the Manila Bulletin, as reported by Boxing News 24. “There was no hesitation in either hand. No, no hesitation at all.”

Pacquiao has confessed he wants a knockout win against Bradley in his final fight, but he may need more than just physical conditioning, and add mental focus during training camp to accomplish his goal.