MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao had "severe" problems with his wife, Jinkee, prior to the boxer's trilogy bout against his great rival, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico, last November in Las Vegas.
|Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao attend mass. File photo.
A new report from Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports revealed the extent of the marital issues between the couple, which came to a head on the night of the fight.
It has long been rumored that the couple was having problems before the fight, and that these problems affected the boxer's performance against Marquez.
Heavily favored against the Mexican, Pacquiao instead submitted a lackluster showing and got away with a controversial majority decision.
In an article on Yahoo! Sports Experts, Iole reported that on the day of Pacquiao's fight with Marquez, Jinkee refused to leave her hotel suite and go with Pacquiao to the arena.
"He (Pacquiao) left his hotel suite on time, but refused to proceed to the arena until his wife agreed to accompany him," Iole wrote. "Several members of his entourage went to her suite, a floor below, to plead with her."
"But according to witnesses, she did not emerge until Pacquiao himself went down and spent time talking with her behind closed doors."
Pacquiao was therefore late to arrive at the MGM Grand, and according to Iole, had only 10 minutes to warm up before going to the ring.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said the 10 minutes was not enough time to prepare the boxer.
"When he came into the dressing room, he wasn't smiling and he wasn’t the old Manny Pacquiao I’m used to. He was (very late arriving) and he didn't have the kind of focus you normally get from him," Roach told Iole.
Iole also reported that Pacquiao's sleep was "irregular," because he spent long hours on the phone with his wife. The writer claimed Jinkee was “contemplating a divorce.”
"Because of the time difference here and the Philippines, he was on the phone after he was done training (in the Marquez camp) talking to Jinkee for hours and hours," said Top Rank boss Bob Arum.
"He knew he needed rest and what not, but what was most important to him was fixing his relationship with his wife."
In a Los Angeles Times report last May, Roach was quoted as saying that Jinkee served Pacquiao with divorce papers on the eve of the fight, though the trainer has since denied making that statement.
"I never said that in my life... I said I knew (Manny) and his wife weren't getting along before the fight," Roach said.
In his interview with Iole, Roach said Pacquiao "was going through a pretty serious situation in his personal life, and his wife was threatening to divorce him."
Pacquiao has never blamed his personal problems for his subpar performance against Marquez, instead admitting that he had underestimated his Mexican rival.
While Roach said that Pacquiao’s personal problems "didn't help" in his fight against Marquez, the Hall-of-Fame trainer said he does not blame his fighter.
"I wasn't thrilled with the performance, but I'm not that critical of it given everything that was happening," Roach told Iole.
Following his controversial victory, Pacquiao has experienced a renewal of faith and has given up all of his vices, including cockfighting, gambling and partying.
He now ends his days with Bible study sessions. Jinkee and their four children last week went to Los Angeles to accompany him during his training camp for his June 9 bout with undefeated American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr.
Pacquiao has said in many interviews that there are no distractions during his training camp, and is thankful that his family is with him in Los Angeles.
Team Pacquiao has closed up camp in the Wild Card and is now heading to Las Vegas, where he will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight championship against Bradley at the MGM Grand on Saturday.