Las Vegas - Manny Pacquiao received a special morale booster on Tuesday, only days before his welterweight title fight against Floyd Mayweather.
The Filipino superstar had appealed to Indonesian president Joko Widodo to spare the life of a Philippine woman who had been sentenced to death on drug charges. The news he received on Tuesday could not have been better.
Mary Jane Veloso was one of eight convicted foreign nationals due to face a firing squad on Tuesday. The others were executed but Veloso was released at the 11th hour.
Earlier, Pacquiao had pleaded with Widodo to spare Veloso.
"I am begging and knocking at your kind heart that your Excellency grant executive clemency to her by sparing her life and saving her from execution," Pacquiao, a Philippines congressman, pleaded in a video call from his Los Angeles training camp. It was broadcast on GMA News TV in the Philippines.
"On May 2, I will be fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Floyd Mayweather, which is considered the fight of the century. It will be a great morale booster if, in my own little way, I can save a life.”
Pacquiao reacted after Veloso's 55-year-old mother, Celia, made a desperate appeal for him to try to help her daughter.
"Manny, please help save my daughter. Please speak up. Any word from you will help greatly because you are very popular in Indonesia," she said.
Veloso’s life was saved after someone suspected of recruiting her and tricking her into carrying drugs to Indonesia turned herself in to authorities in the Philippines, it was reported on Tuesday.
The Philippine foreign affairs department confirmed the reprieve. "We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane Veloso was not carried out tonight," said a spokesperson, Charles Jose. "The Lord has answered our prayers."