MARK Barriga got a short but inspiring message from no less than one of the greatest boxers of all-time heading to his first ever attempt at a world championship.
The Olympian bumped into Manny Pacquiao while in training at the LA Fitness in California, where the eight-time world division champion was also sweating out before returning to the country on Sunday.
The legendary Filipino fighter, who co-handles Barriga under his MP Promotions in partnership with Joven Sports, just briefly told him, ‘Good luck at galingan mo.’
But for the 25-year-old native of Danao, Cebu, it surely meant a lot with just a week left before he battles American-Mexican Carlos Licona for the vacant International Boxing Federation mini-flyweight crown.
“Malaking bagay yun para sa akin, lalo na at alam natin tinitingala natin ang isang Manny Pacquiao,” said an obviously elated Barriga.
The country’s lone representative in the 2012 London Olympics was in the company of trainer Joven Jimenez, stablemates Jerwin Ancajas, the reigning IBF super-flyweight title holder, and Charly Suarez, strength and conditioning coach Delfin Boholst, and matchmaker Sean Gibbons when they crossed path with the Pacman.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao, the current holder of the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight crown, was also doing some workouts at the gym when Barriga and Co. came over.
The Pacman has began light training as he prepares for his coming title defense against Adrian Broner. He arrived in the country Sunday morning following a whirlwind, two-city press tour to promote the January 19 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Barriga will have his first shot at a world title on Dec. 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Tyson fury heavyweight bout for the World Boxing Council (WBC) championship.
The Filipino sports an unbeaten record of 9-0 (1 KO), while Licona sports a likewise perfect record of 13-0 (2 KOs).