MACAU - Less than a year after Manny Pacquiao was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez, the Filipino ring hero's family admitted being more nervous than usual as he once again climbed the ring on Sunday.
Pacquiao's younger brother Bobby told Spin.ph the traumatic sight of Pacquiao lying unconscious on the mat at the end of the Marquez fight last December came back to haunt him while the former world pound-for-pound king made his way to the ring for the fight against Brandon Rios.
“Hindi maiiwasan 'yun (fear) eh. Talagang iba yung pakiramdam ngayon. Kinabahan ako ng husto … hindi tulad nung dati na kumpiyansa ka,” said Bobby, himself a former boxer.
They Said It!
“Iba 'yung laro ngayon eh. Talagang mas nag-doble kami ng pagdadasal." - a visibly relieved Jinkee Pacquiao after her husband's victory over Brandon Rios
“Iba 'yung laro ngayon eh. Talagang mas nag-doble kami ng pagdadasal,” he added.
Pacquiao's wife Jinkee made no effort to hide the fear she felt the moment the opening bell sounded.
“Bago ang fight, sinasabi ko sa sarili ko relax lang pero nung pagtunog ng bell. Dun na talaga ako nanginig. Kasi syempre, nag-ensayo rin ng maigi si Rios eh,” said Jinkee, who is three months pregnant.
But Jinkee said she immediately felt at ease seeing her husband’s old flare back.
“Maganda ang ipinakita ni Manny ngayon. Maganda ang performance niya. Proud ako sa kanya … lagi naman,” said Mrs. Pacquiao.
And with Pacquiao’s dominant performance against Rios, Jinkee declared that his husband is certainly still among the elite names in the fight game.
“Oo, naman siyempre. At that level pa rin siya,” said Mrs. Pacquiao while proudly watching her husband being interviewed for television atop the ring.
Even Pacquiao’s buddy and chief of staff Haplas Fernandez revealed a different feeling while seeing his childhood friend methodically dissect his American rival.
“Pag nadidinig ko 'yung warning bell (10-second bell), talagang tinititigan ko si Manny. Baka masingitan na naman. Ilang 10 seconds yun … labing dalawa,” said Fernandez, breathing a sigh of relief.
“Pero siyempre, mas nanaig 'yung tiwala namin kay boss kasi nakita naman namin kung gaano siya naghanda para sa laban na ito,” added the younger brother of Team Pacquiao assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez.