LOS ANGELES, MAY 9, 2011 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (Photo - Jinkee Pacquiao beside a painting of her husband Manny praying at their house in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, California during the exclusive one-on-one with The STAR. (Photos by RICKY LO)

It’s Sunday afternoon, one week before Manny Pacquiao faces Shane Mosley in the ring at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas tomorrow morning, May 8 (Saturday night US Time), the same hotel where 10 years ago Manny, then a 121-pounder, had his debut in an undercard in which he beat Lehlohonolo Ledwaba during the bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Javier Castillejo. The Pacquiao-Ledwaba fight didn’t last six rounds. De La Hoya beat Castillejo but, as fate would have it, a few years later, Manny would beat De La Hoya. Watch full video

It’s 4 o’clock when Tim Evans (an officer of the US Immigration) and I arrive at the Pacquiao residence in Hancock Park. Manny is at the Wild Card Gym working out, only Jinkee and his twin sister Janet and older sister Haydee who are in, entertaining a handful of visitors that included the crew of CBS that was interviewing Jinkee.

The house is relatively quiet. Tim and I expect a pre-fight hustle-bustle. Jake Joson of Team Pacquiao is around, and so are former Manila Rep. Miles Roces and his special friend Cris Bonoan with Miles’ kids. Bernard Cloma, the Pacquiaos’ all-around assistant, is busy entertaining the visitors that also include actor Kevin Santos.

The next day, Jinkee and Manny and their usual entourage will go to Las Vegas by car.

While waiting for the CBS guys to finish their interview with Jinkee, Tim and I take a quick tour of the ground floor, taking pictures here and there, focusing on the famous winding staircase beside a wall adorned with framed blown-up photos of Manny. The front view of the Pacquiao house in Hancock Park and (right) two of the Manny paintings displayed all over the house.

That morning, the New York Times has come out with a story titled Enter The Emulator in which Manny reveals that he got his style from his idol, Bruce Lee (whose photo is prominently displayed on a wall above the door).

(The front view of the Pacquiao house in Hancock Park and (right) two of the Manny paintings displayed all over the house.)

This time around, do you feel the same way before Manny’s fight as you did during his previous fights?

“It’s still the same. But it really depends on who he’s fighting with. Kapag alam ko na ang kalaban niya ay easy fight lang, parang wala lang, parang relaks lang.”

Do you think Mosley is “easy fight lang”?

“I saw Mosley fight before so medyo kinakabahan ako. But I’m still confident that Manny will win. You know how Manny trains, 100 percent ang focus and concentration.”

Do you watch him train?

“Oh yes, always.”

Aside from prayer, what other support do you give Manny? Do you give suggestions?

“Sometimes, binibigay ko ang opinion ko when it comes to, for example, the sparring. After the workout, I would tell him. ‘Yung sparring mo kanina okey.’ Mga ganoon-ganoon lang.” Manny Pacquiao in The New York Times last Sunday, May 1.

During a fight, I suppose masaya ka kapag nakakatama si Manny sa kalaban. How do you feel kung siya ang tinatamaan?

“That’s what many people have been asking me, ‘Ano kaya ang feeling ni Jinkee? Idol namin si Manny kaya kami ay natatakot din for him. What more kay Jinkee, eh, siya ang asawa.’ How do I feel? Siempre, when Manny is hit, nalulungkot at nasasaktan ako. Mixed feelings, actually. I cannot explain it. Basta, natatakot ka, kinakabahan ka, lahat na!”

There are predictions that Manny will knock out Mosley in the fifth or sixth round. Do you have your own prediction?

“I don’t make predictions.”

(Manny Pacquiao in The New York Times last Sunday, May 1.)

Why not?

“Basta ayoko lang.”

Manny’s mom, Aling Dionisia, has been vocal about her wish every time Manny has a fight that it would be the last. What about you? The famous stairs leading to the Pacquiaos’ private quarters.

“If you ask me, gusto ko last na ‘to. But whatever Manny’s decision is, I will support him. If he wants to have two or three more fights, I will be behind him.”

Do you and Manny ever discuss his retirement?

“Yes, we do. The decision is all up to him.”

What kind of food does Manny eat during his training for a fight?

“Simple lang. Kelangan may sabaw, Tinolang Manok. Chicken and beef but no pork. He eats them every day. Actually, he’s not choosy with food.”

How many hours before a fight does he stop eating?

“Kumakain din naman siya, but not much.” The dining room and the living room where The STAR and the CBS interviews were held.

(The dining room and the living room where The STAR and the CBS interviews were held.)

Nonito Donaire Jr. and his wife Rachel admitted that they sometimes still do “it” on the eve of a fight. What about you and Manny (do you abstain from “it”) before Manny’s fight?

“We do (abstain). No sex talaga before a fight. Mga three weeks before his fight, hindi na puede, bawal na.”

So what do you do in bed?

“Kuwentuhan na lang or hug-hug na lang, ganyan.”

What do you talk about when you hug-hug?

“Nothing. Yakap-yakap lang talaga kapag natutulog kami.”

Doesn’t Manny talk in his sleep?

“If he does, I can’t hear him because when he sleeps, nakatalikod siya sa akin at kinakamot ko ang likod niya. I think he does it para hindi siya ma-tempt. I usually gently massage his back para makatulog siya.”

Do you have anything to say to our kababayan?

“To all Filipinos, sana suportahan natin uli si Manny sa kanyang laban. Let’s pray for him. Sana manalo uli siya.”

(PHOTO AT RIGHT - inkee and your columnist (second from left) and the CBS team with other visitors that Sunday afternoon, including (from left) Tim Evans (of the US Immigration), Jinkee’s older sister Haydee, Bernard Cloma (the Pacquiao couple’s all-around assistant), former Manila representative Miles Roces and Jake Joson (of Team Pacquiao). Inset: Jinkee with actor Kevin Santos (Manny’s co-star in the GMA sitcom Show Me Da Manny).]

(Photos by RICKY LO)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved