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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Manny watches Warriors win

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
25 Jan 2019



WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao and wife Jinkee sat at courtside as the visiting Golden State Warriors crushed the Los Angeles Lakers, 130-111, in an NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last Monday then exchanged pleasantries with the players of their favorite team outside the lockerroom before leaving the arena. It was two days after Pacquiao decisioned Adrien Broner to retain his WBA crown in Las Vegas and his left eye was back to normal.

Pacquiao suffered a slight corneal abrasion in the fight and the left eye was patched tight for a day. When Pacquiao went to the Staples Center, the patch was gone. MP Promotions head Joe Ramos said, “All is well, it’s all healed.”

The lockerroom meeting with the players was quick, said San Francisco lawyer Jason Aniel whose mother Boots used to manage former world champion Luisito Espinosa and welcomed Pacquiao on his first trip to the US in 2001. Pacquiao and Jinkee brought their youngest child Israel to meet the players. “Steph (Curry) congratulated Manny on his victory and Jinkee told Steph that she’s a big fan,” recounted Aniel. “Steph gave a little fist-bump to Israel whom he called ‘little man.’”

The meeting was arranged by Aniel in the private corridor next to the Warriors lockerroom. With the Pacquiaos were Jinkee’s twin sister Janet and her husband Tibo Jumalon. Aniel said Ramos coordinated the handling of game tickets with Al Haymon. “I think the group had 16 tickets and accommodations in a suite box,” he said. “Everyone had a great time. The group included Joe, his wife Joana, David Sisson, Sean Gibbons and his son Brendan, Edward Lura, Johnny Bantlian and Neil Hilario.”

Aniel said one by one, the Warriors came out of their lockerroom to greet Pacquiao. “Andre Igoudala put up his dukes and made like Manny attacking Broner,” he said. “Kevin Durant also congratulated Manny. KD was very nice to the family. He made sure to introduce himself to Manny and Jinkee and he wasn’t in a rush to leave.”

The Pacquiaos weren’t the only celebrities who witnessed the game in choice seats. Others were Floyd Mayweather, rapper Snoop Dogg and actors Jack Nicholson, James Franco and Mahershala Ali.


Sen. Manny Pacquiao, wife Jinkee, their son Israel and lawyer Jason Aniel meet Steph Curry at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last Monday (photo sent by Jason Aniel).


Aniel said Pacquiao didn’t buy any NBA merchandise because it was the Lakers homecourt and none of the booths sold Warriors stuff. Pacquiao was formerly a Boston Celtics fan but now cheers for Golden State. “Manny’s been a Warriors fan since 2014 when I arranged for him to play at the team’s practice facility,” said Aniel. “My legal mentor Jonathan Chu knew some of the Warriors staff so when Manny was in San Francisco to promote the (Chris) Algieri fight, he wanted to play basketball and we set up a scrimmage at the Warriors gym. From there, I became good friends with current Warriors assistant coach Chris DeMarco and Manny has supported the Warriors since then.” Aniel also arranged for Pacquiao’s sons Jimuel and Michael to meet Curry after the Warriors played the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015.

Aniel said Pacquiao enjoyed the game particularly as the Warriors put on a dazzling display of fireworks with Klay Thompson hitting his first 10 triples and scoring 23 of Golden State’s 45 points in the third period. Thompson finished with 44 points. Durant had 20 points and Curry, 11 points and 12 of the team’s 41 assists. The Lakers hardly put up a fight with LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo out of commission.

Pacquiao’s appearance trended because Mayweather happened to be in the game, too. They’ve been bumping into each other on too many “accidental” occasions lately that fans are beginning to think the chance encounters were deliberate. Pacquiao has dared Mayweather to un-retire and face him in a rematch. Last year, Mayweather said it was a go but he’s since changed his tune, playing coy to the idea. Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said if there’s enough money on the table, Mayweather won’t turn down an opportunity to make millions by fighting Pacquiao one more time.


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