MANNY Pacquiao may be known as the `Mexi-cutioner’, but that doesn’t take away the respect another Mexican warrior, Rey Mysterio, had for the Filipino boxing great.
Mysterio, the former three-time World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) world champion famous for his colorful mask and high-wire acts inside the ring, readily expressed his admiration for the 33-year-old ring idol from General Santos City upon his arrival for a two-day, meet-and-greet tour.
“I’m a big fan of Manny,” said the Mexican wrestling star, 38, during a press conference at the Gateway Mall in Quezon City.
“Although he took down many of my (Mexican) idols, I’m still a very big fan of him,” Mysterio said of Pacquiao, who counts Mexican legends Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio Margarito, and Oscar Larios, among his biggest conquests in the ring.
Oscar Gutierrez in real life, Mysterio said Filipinos and Mexicans are alike in terms of their passion for their work.
“We are alike on how passionate we are on what we do,” said Mysterio, who twice reigned as WWE world heavyweight champion and once held the WWE championship. “Like Manny, I love to perform for my people.”
Becoming a wrestler has been his dream even as a kid.
“I've always wanted to be a wrestler. My uncle's the one responsible for me being a wrestler," he said.
His uncle of course, is his trainer Rey Misterio Sr. who runs a wrestling school as Rey was growing up.
Now that he’s living his dream as one of the biggest draws in professional wrestling today, Mysterio said he still has his feet on the ground.
"My faith in God is very important. (And) my relationship with my family, my wife, Angie, who's been supporting me in my 23 years of my career,” said Mysterio, a four-time WWE tag-team champion and twice title holder of the WWE Intercontinental belt.
As a wrestler, Mysterio admitted his height, or lack of it, was his biggest setback.
“We all face challenges, but the biggest challenge that I’ve encountered is the fact that I’m small,” he said. “Some would say that he’s too small, he’s too skinny to wrestle with the other guys. But I’ve overcome that. Being the `underdog’, I used it as self-motivation. Nothing can be thrown at me without me being able to conquer it.”