By EDDIE G. ALINEA
Special to Philippines Today
LOS ANGELES, California — Win to be the (undisputed welterweight) champion, then we’ll be gratified!
This was what Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao said will happen after his super-fight with American Floyd Mayweather is over.
Asked by Christian Pastor Dudley Rutherford that question in a live interview during a religious service held at the Westside Sheperd Church here Sunday morning, the 36-year-old Born Again Christian convert, without hesitation, answered that way to the delight of the some 3,000 flock members, most of whom Filipino expatriates here and other parts of the United States.
A thousand more who could be accommodated inside the venue contented themselves watching the one hour-and-a-half one-on-one interview in a giant screen outside the building.
The unprecedented church service cum interview, titled “Faith and Fighting,” was held as a way of the flock lending moral support to the Filipino ring icon in his coming historic showdown with the undefeated American Mayweather on May 2 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
The interview touched on a lot of things on the life of the World Boxing Organization welterweight titleholder from the time how he as a young boy forced to do menial jobs at age four to help his mother Dionisia rear the brood of six as a single mother.
How he was lured into boxing even after earning just $2 after each victory and felt very happy being able to buy food to feed his mother, sisters Liza and isidra, brothers Domingo, Alberto “Bobby” and Rogelio. Liza and Domingo were born from Aleng Dionisia’s first husband, while Manny, Isidra, Bobby and Rogelio were born out of the Dionisia-Rosalio union.
How he worked his way to raise the family, through prizefighting from a deep hole of poverty to become rich, famous and powerful he is today.
How he married Maria Geraldine “Jinkee” Jamora (now Vice Governor of Sarangani Province) with whom he has five children — Emmanuel “Jimwell” Jr., Michael, Princess, Queen “Queenie” Elizabeth and Israel.
How he extricated himself from sins brought about by fame and riches by converting from being a devout Catholic to Born Again with the help of Jinkee. She, in turn, converted to be a a government servant like her husband (Pacquiao is in his second term as Congressman, representing his wife’s province) to further serve the people.
“In being a Christian, I learned not only how to know God but also believe in him.
I also knew God before, but I didn’t believe in Him. I was leaving an empty life until I found Jesus,” he pontificated.
Answering a query on his thoughts as to who will be the President of the Republic, he or Jinkee, Pacquiao retorted with a smile and pointing to the wife, “she, the President of the house.” drawing a mixture of laughter and applause from his audience.
Pastor Rutherford asked Pacquiao on what he will be after 10 years and retired and the eight-division champion answered: “Serving the Lord and serving the People.”
“I would like to help more of my people. By being in government service, I will be able to give back to my people what God has given me. That will be my biggest legacy.”
Being a boxer is no joke, he attested. “Everyday, from Monday to Saturday, if I have a fight, I have to wake up at 3 o’clock and run at 5 a.m. for one hour. Go home at 7, eat breakfast, rest a little, wake up at noon for gym training from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.”
“God is good,” he said. “He thought me how to manage my time in my profession, my job as a congressman then my wife and family,” he narrated. “God rewarded me though by giving me fame and riches, a beautiful wife, healthy children and eight world championships in eight different divisions.
As for Jinkee, she said that all she and her children can do to help is to always pray for him to be a good person, a good husband and a faithful servant of God.
The best of Manny Pacquiao in his 20-year- boxing career.
That’s how chief trainer Freddie Roach and his training staff have been preparing the 36-year-old Filipino boxing superstar for his coming historic, biggest and richest fight with undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The World Boxing Organization welterweight belt-holder and the World Boxing Council/World Boxing Association 147-pound titlist collide on May 2 at the MGM Grand Arena in the city of vices of Las Vegas in Nevada for the bragging right of being recognized as the Greatest Fighter in this era or of all-time.
Pacquiao himself assured that he will be at his finest in their 12-round encounter with the owner of the immaculate 47-0 win-loss slate, which happens to be his first outing in celebration of his 20-year-anniversasry as a prizefighter.
“I am fighting a man considered by many as the best fighter today and it follows that I should be in my finest when we meet to prove to all and sundry that I deserve more than a second fiddle billing,” Pacquiao told this writer during the temptation night of the weight-loss competition he is sponsoring among his and Sarangani Vice Gov. Jinkee’s employees, members of Team Pacquiao, friends and supporters held Saturday in Glendale, California.
“The whole of the boxing community, in general, and the boxing world, in particular, have been eagerly awaiting this fight to materialize after years of uncertainty and I believe they, too, deserve the best from both of us protagonists,” Pacquiao reasoned out.
“To attain the bests fighting form requires the bests training program and I want to thank Freddie, my conditioning consultant Justin Fortune and members of the training team (Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri, Roger “Haplas” Fernandez and Marvin Somodio for bearing with me in this long, hard but fruitful training camp.
To prepare himself for what he said could be the most critical phase of his build up program, the holder of 10 championship belts in eight weight divisions, did away anew with the scheduled sparring session for that same day.
“Starting Monday, training regimen will include that tactical side of preparations,” the Sarangani fighting Congressman said. “We started this phase already late this week, and we will continue the same procedure next week.
Pacquiao was referring his watching the tapes of all of Mayweather’s significant fights and design counter-acting with flaws they found.
“I do not usually watch tapes of my rivals, but in this fight I had to according to Freddie I did and to my surprise, marami akong natutunan,” he quipped.
The cancellation of Saturday’s sparring was one of the rare times that the training staff did it third straight days, surprising many. Roach, likewise, did away with the routine Tuesday and Thursday.
As a substitute to sparring, Pacquiao went into another punishing 23-round routine at the Wild Card Gym that included 13-rounds of pounding the mitts with Roach plus 10 more with the balls and floor exercises, which, according to assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez was part of getting Pacquiao ready short (via knockout) and long (12-round) fight.
“We’ve been really preparing Manny for a KO win at kung hindi man mangyari dahil alam naman nating magaling tumakbo si Mayweather, manalo siya sa puntos,” explained Buboy.
“Twelve round ang limit ng laban, pero as of now, Manny is ready to fight for 20 rounds or more,” ganoon namin siya ihinahanda. “Everyting happens in boxing, di ba. Iba na siyempre ang nakasisiguro.” (Eddie G. Alinea)
Tough as it was in his third week in the camp, Roach said the remaining days of the build-up program will be tougher and harder, adding though that precautionary measures have already been in place in case o injury or early peaking are concerned.
Even the “Fighter of the Decade” honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America gave the five-man sparring mates a passing grade as far as giving him the needed tools on how to break Mayweather’s defensive blanket.
“Everything goes well, walang problema,” he said. Ang mga sparring partners ko may kanya-kanyang talent representing Mayweasther’s,” so they all have given me samples of what will be coming comes fight night.”
“Ang isa lamang na mahigpit na binabantayan ay ang ma-injure while undergoing preparations,” he said. “Freddie though and all his assistants are making sure nothing happens from now until the fight.”
Jaworski, local basketball’s living legend and known also as “The Big J” or just” “Jawo,” visited Pacquiao, his kumpadre at the latter’s mansion where Jinkee and their children who flew in Friday, also stay later in the day.
The former Barangay Ginebra playing-coach in the PBA stayed for ar least two hours, as they talked on manhy things such as basketball, where Pacquiao is also the playing-coach of Team Kia, boxing, what else, and even their political plans.
Jaworski, who said he and wife Evelyn have been in L.A. for a week to visit several business interests, reminded his buddy of the significance ot the May 2 fight,not only on his future plans but the country and the Filipinos as well.