MANILA, Philippines - Dionesia Pacquiao would always lock herself up in her room before her son, Manny, faces a big fight.
Her fervor probably influenced the Pacman’s “rituals” at the ring before the start of the match.
Some of those rituals were absent during his latest match, where he lost to Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Marquez, even if Mommy D -- as she is fondly called -- did her usual routine.
After hearing the loss, she went out of her prayer room and cried in anguish, even blaming the boxer’s change in religion that led to the loss.
In an interview with dzMM later, a seemingly more relaxed Mommy D said: “Okay lang, tanggap na namin. Wala ako kaba sa umpisa, natanggap ko na ang pagkatalo.”
She said it will only be Manny who can answer the real reason behind the loss. Still, “sa aking side, gusto ko, huwag nyang iwan ang sign of the cross. 'Yun ang nakayaman sa kanya noon,” she said.
In a traditional Catholic country, speculations still abound as to what religion the boxing superstar is exercising now. Pacquiao said he did not change religions, but only sought a re-energized Christianity.
This newly found faith supposedly turned him around, with his vices such as gambling supposedly now a thing of the past.
Manny has even allegedly asked his mother to join him in his Christian path.
Also in a dzMM interview, boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz noted the boxer’s rituals brought a deeper meaning to his every fight.
“In the past, he put the rosary around his neck and prayed solemnly in one corner,” he pointed out.
The rosary was absent on Sunday (local time), however.
While such rituals may be a superstition to some, analyst Ed Tolentino said: “Ang sa akin: May nawawala ba? Lahat naman ng atleta, may ganyan e…may mga bagay-bagay na ayaw nating i-disrupt.”
He cited that Pancho Villa always had his “voodoo green” shorts while Michael Jordan was always wearing his North Carolina uniform. Efren “Bata” Reyes never took a bath whenever he wins a match.
Nathanielsz added Pacquiao’s turning back on those previous rituals is “difficult, especially in a [Catholic] environment in the Philippines.”
Straying from the path
While he could not deny the strategy and strength of Marquez, Nathanielsz said Pacquiao “strayed a little from his path…Maybe, God only knows. This is a lesson to him.”
For Mommy D, it could be a sign that his son should already hang up his boxing gloves for good.
“Kung ako lang magdedesisyon, gusto ko na magpahinga na sya. Kung gusto nya as politician, dun na lang sya magserbisyo,” he said.
She also sought to console Filipinos from the heartbreak.
“Huwag na kayo masyado mabigo. Ako na nanay, tanggap ko na. Sana matanggap na ng fans…Ang Panginoon ang nag-uutos na huminto na sya,” she said.