HOLLYWOOD – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was attacked by an unknown assailant as he was about to leave a Japanese restaurant along busy Hollywood Blvd. late afternoon of Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
The big white man, described to be in his mid-30s, suddenly came from behind and appeared ready to punch on the Filipino boxing great just when he was to board his Italia Ferrari car at the backdoor parking lot of the Kabuki restaurant here.
Pacquiao’s security however, was able to hold the guy and pull him away while he kept on yelling invectives against the congressman from Sarangani province.
“He was shouting ‘F@#* you! F@#* you! You homophobic!” David Sisson, Pacquiao’s personal assistant, recalled about what the man was saying as he was being led away from the 37-year-old boxer.
No effort to call the police was made after the guy was eventually let go as per Pacquiao’s instruction to his security personnel.
“Manny told them not to hurt the guy, and said ‘let him go, let him go,’” said Sisson afterwards.
Long-time Pacquiao friend Edward Lura, who is based here in L.A., was the first to foil the attack after pushing the man away from Pacquiao and into the hands of the boxing star’s security.
“I really thought he would hit Manny. He almost got to him,” Sisson said.
Johnny Bantillan, a former boxer and now part of Pacquiao’s security aide, came close to punching the guy, but was pacified and prevailed upon by people around the eight time world boxing division champion.
The episode came at a time when everybody had already left the restaurant – including mediamen – where Pacquiao, his family, and entourage usually proceed to take their lunch after every Sunday service.
Sisson admitted people around Pacquiao expected such incidents to happen in the US, particularly in the light of his controversial comments about same-sex marriage last February.
“We’ve expected it all along. I was actually surprised that it happened only once,” he said.
Sisson even quoted Pacquiao as saying that ‘it’s better to love him (assailant) like (Jesus) Christ loves us.’
Trying to make light of the situation, Pacquiao said the assailant was actually his fan.
“Didn’t you hear him shouting, ‘F@# yow! F@# yow!’ Slang nga lang kaya iba intindi nyo,” said the congressman of Sarangani province, who went straight to his mansion at Plymouth Boulevard and played chess the whole day as if nothing happened.