Manny Pacquiao was told not to ‘hug’ Floyd Mayweather when the pair fought in 2015 by his very first trainer and uncle back in General Santos City.
Heading into the biggest fight of his life, Pacquiao was an underdog for the first time in many years.
But Sardo Mejia, the man behind the humble beginnings of the ‘Pacman,’ made sure he had some final words for his talented nephew.
“Every time I see Manny, I give him some advice about his next fight,’ Mejia told Red Door News via The Daily Mail. “He still listens to me after all these years.
“I last saw him a few months (before the Mayweather fight) when he came back to General Santos. I said to him, ‘Don’t hug Mayweather.’
“Don’t get too close to him in the ring. Keep your distance”. He said to me, “Yes, uncle, I will bear in mind your advice.”
Mejia oversaw the initial training of Pacquiao from a skinny 12-year-old boy to the mid-stages of his teenage years.
Pacquaio then had to be let out into the world to fully blossom and grow into a professional fighter.
Remembering the time fondly, Mejia did not play down his involvement. He says he made the 41-year-old legend who he is today.
“He was 12, and he had no muscle on him at all. At first, I couldn’t see him being a fighter,’ recalled Sardo.
“Then, after I trained him for six months, I said to myself: “This boy is going to be a world champion.”
Concluding with a final statement giving himself the ultimate kudos, Mejia stated: “I am the first one who trained him.
“If it weren’t for me, there would be no eight times world champion Manny Pacquaio.”
In 2020, there aren’t many fighters who can look back at their resume and say they built one of the best of all time.
Certainly, Pacquiao – alongside Mayweather, is one of those. As he moves closer to the final chapter of his career, we all need to appreciate the Senator before he finally walks away for good.
The next fight could be Pacquiao’s last. A run for President of the Philippines could undoubtedly be in his future.