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A tribute to “Koyote Boys” of Team Pacquiao


PhilBoxing.com




LAS VEGAS – Just like the coyotes, where the group got its name, most of them are shy and maintain a low-profile despite their achievements and invaluable contributions to the history of Philippine sports, particularly boxing.

The “Koyote Boys” are composed of five retired Filipino boxers who traveled to the United States in search for the proverbial greener pasture.

Unknown to many, they play a vital role in the training camp of world eight-division boxing champion and Sarangani representative Manny Pacquiao.

They ended up broke until they came across the life of Pacman.

They are former Philippine and OPBF Junior Featherweight champ Reynante Jamili; former OPBF, NABF and WBC International Flyweight title holder Juanito Rubillar; former Philippine Junior Lightweight champ and Pacquiao’s long-time sparmate Aaron Melgarejo; two-time Olympian and Asian Games gold medalist Roberto Jalnaiz; as well as, former national champ, Nino Jalnaiz.

The coyote, according to Wikipedia, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America.

Coyote is also known as the American jackal, brush wolf or the prairie wolf. It’s scientific name, Canis latrans, means barking dogs in Latin.

Kitchen turf…

Nonoy Neri, a member of Pacquiao’s strength & conditioning team, takes charge of buying food supplies from the marketplace – rice, meat (beef & chicken), vegetables and fruits.

The five-man Koyote Boys, who are all under Pacquiao’s assistant coach & trainer Buboy Fernandez, call the shots in food preparation.

Kitchen is their turf. No one is allowed to get in, much more, touch anything especially during the food preparation.

“They are under strict order not to allow anybody to enter or roam around the kitchen during food preparation,” Fernandez told the PhilBoxing.com.

Fernandez said this is to make sure the food being served to the Filipino ring icon is safe and clean.

Everything is ready when the Pinoy ring hero comes out to eat. They themselves serve the food, clean the dining table and wash the dishes afterward.

Their job doesn’t end right there.

“I briefed them about their job and I’m glad they are doing it well. They have become a vital part of our training camp,” Fernandez claimed.

When Pacquiao is out to jog in the open field or train inside the Wild Card Boxing Gym, Fernandez and his Koyote Boys went ahead to prepare what he needs like rubber mat for abdominal exercises, water, even packed meals, etc.

They are always ready with packed meals or snacks just in case the Pacman asked for something to eat.

They enjoy doing menial jobs like wiping the sweat off the mat or fold it up after Pacman’s jogging or training session.

They are proud that they have become part of history and of the life of a great man who carved his own niche in the annals of sweet science.

Vagabonds…

Before Fernandez took them in, most of the Koyote Boys, if not all, led the life of a vagabond.

“Some of them have no papers. They came to the US after they retired from boxing hoping to find a job. So, Congressman Pacquiao and I decided to absorb them in our team,” Fernandez bared.

He added that these boxers during their prime had brought prestige and honor to the country.

“Their boxing records speak for themselves. It’s time to return to them the favor. Congressman Pacquiao is doing this for the love of country and for the love of boxing. He wants to help the country take care of athletes who made sacrifices and shared their talents for the glory of our country,” Fernandez added.

About two or three of the Koyote Boys were already part of Team Pacquiao prior to the training camp for the April 12 Pacquiao-Bradley grudge rematch. But they were disorganized.

“I noticed they were a ragtag team made up of bygone fighters. So, I decided to organize them. But I couldn’t think of any name that would somehow fit or resemble the unique characters of the group,” he said.

Turned up…

One morning, while Pacman was doing a roadwork up the famous Griffith Park in Hollywood, Fernandez, who was aboard a convoy vehicle together with the former boxers, saw a pack of coyotes along the route.

“I saw around five to six coyotes and right away I got an idea what would the name of this group be. From then on, I called them Koyote Boys,” Fernandez said laughing.

Upon returning home on the same day after his uphill run, Pacman was having breakfast when Fernandez suddenly blurted, “Koyote Boys!”

The group, who was then standing in a row right behind the Pacman, howled at one high note “Awwwoooooo!” eliciting laughter from the boxer-lawmaker and the people around him.

The mere presence of and helping people like these, Fernandez said, adds joy and meaning to the life of Pacman.

Photo: Pacman in a huddle with his Las Vegas-based Pinoy fans. Photo by Aquiles Zonio.

PhilBoxing.com would like to welcome veteran Filipino journalist Aquiles Zonio to its roster of contributors. Aquiles is the Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent in General Santos City, Philippines.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Aquiles Z. Zonio.


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