Manny Pacquiao received some strange orders when embarking on a record-breaking fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao was told not to ‘hug’ Mayweather when the pair fought in 2015. The request came from 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.
Manny Pacquiao advice
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. “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.
Manny Pacquiao – no muscle
“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 2022, 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 past the final chapter of his career into the exhibition phase, appreciation is a given before he finally walks away for good.
A combat YouTuber is next this coming December. Something far more significant than that could follow in 2023.