NEW YORK CITY – Jinkee Pacquiao is praying husband Manny Pacquiao will no longer have a change of heart once he officially retires from boxing.
While elated with the decision of the 37-year-old ring legend to finally hang up his gloves after his April 9 showdown with Timothy Bradley, Jinkee says a lot can still happen three months from now.
“Iyun talaga ang pinagpapatuloy kong i-pray, na hindi na talaga babalik,” a smiling Jinkee said just after the final stop of Pacquiao’s four-day, two-city press tour with Bradley concluded on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) at the Madison Square Garden here.
With Mrs. Pacquiao attentively listening as she sat a few rows away from the stage of the so-called boxing mecca of the world, the eight-time world division champion again reiterated his third fight with Bradley for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown, would be the last bout of his professional career.
She admitted getting surprised when her husband said in public for the first time that he’s already walking away from the sport that has been so good to him once his fight with the 32-year-old Bradley is over.
Jinkee said the Pacman’s decision was his alone and hadn’t been discussed within the family even before.
“Siguro napag-isip-isip niya rin. Siyempre answered prayer din dahil 'yun naman talaga ang pinagdadasal ko,” said the current vice governor of Saranggani
Pacquiao a two-term congressman of Saragani province, is seeking a seat in the Senate in the coming national polls, a factor that could have played a major part in his decision to step down as a boxing champ.
Jinkee admitted trying to convince Pacquiao to finally retire as early as his sixth-round knockout loss against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, to no avail.
“Matagal ko ng sina-suggest sa kanya yan, ako at si Mommy D (Pacquiao's mother)," she said.
Jinkee added her husband was only compelled to honor his deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank that he had to fight for one last time this 2016.
“Akala ko nga ngayon wala ng fight, pero kahit papaano 'yung kontrata niya kailangang tapusin,” she said.
But now that a decision has been made, it’s the five children of the Pacquiao couple who are the happiest about their father’s plan, she said.
But somehow, Jinkee admitted she’ll also miss being the wife of one of the world’s greatest fighters of all-time.
“Siguro,lalo na 'yung pagpunta sa Vegas pag fight niya,” she replied when asked if she will miss the times when her husband was on top of the boxing world.
What she and her family get in return though, is something she’ll forever cherish.
“At least makapag-focus na siya sa pamilya, may family time na,” she said. “At tsaka 'yung responsibilidad niya rin as a public servant para wala ng issues.”
With her husband running for a national seat, Mrs. Pacquiao said it’s best that she’d rather not seek re-election as vice governor of Sarangani.
As she walks out of politics, Jinkee said she’ll get something valuable in return, just like her husband.
“Ayoko na. At least naka-experience ako how to become a public servant,” she stressed. “Mahirap pag lima ang anak, tapos may maliit ka pa, although of course, family first pa rin tayo.”