LAS VEGAS – He doesn’t wear his old college shorts under his playing uniform the way the great Michael Jordan used to. Nor does he refuse to take a bath in the entire duration of a tournament so as not to wash away good luck, as pool maestro Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes believes so.
Yet just like any great athletes, boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao follows a pre-fight ritual that he is won’t to break, lest he invite bad luck.
Buboy Fernandez, a boyhood friend of the eight-time world champion, is among a select few who knows the routine Pacquiao sticks to before every bout.
“Kailangan preparado lahat ang gamit niya at walang maiiwan kapag papunta na siya sa laban. Kailangan dala na lahat,” said Fernandez, one of two Filipino assistant trainers working Pacquiao’s corner, the other being Nonoy Neri.
“Kung may naiwan naman, huwag ng balikan pa,” he said.
Fernandez isn’t aware of the reason behind the practice but has learned to follow it to the letter, no questions asked.
“Yun kasi ang alituntunin ni brod,” said the trainer.
It’s also imperative for the boxing champ to get enough rest before climbing the ring. “Ingat din siyempre sa mga katabi, iniiwasan niya `yung mga maiingay para makapag-pahinga ng maayos,” he added.
Of course, his practice to pray in a corner inside the ring before and after every bout has been well-documented, but what fans don’t know is that Pacman is very particular with the pair of shoes he wears for a fight.
“Siya ang namimili kung ano gusto niyang isuot, anong kulay. Tapos ibibigay na lang niya sa amin `yun para dalhin,” he added.
The 33-year-old boxer turned congressman is not as choosy with the food he eats before bouts, although he is not much into meat.
There should always be the regular soup in the menu, just like the nilagang baka he ate on the morning of the weigh-in along with broiled chicken, fish, and rice, and the tinolang manok he partnered with kebab chicken after making the weight.
“Hindi yan maselan sa pagkain” he said.