Mamba Mentality: Pacquiao pays homage to Kobe Bryant in US training

Published July 9, 2021, 4:28 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Manny Pacquiao infuses himself with the Mamba Mentality mindset as he prepares for his much-awaited comeback against unified WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Aug. 21.

Manny Pacquiao pays homage to his late basketball idol Kobe Bryant (Photo from Manny Pacquiao’s Twitter account)

On Twitter, Pacquiao posted a photo of him wearing a Kobe Bryant shirt outside of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles California, saying: #MambaMentality the next 6 weeks! We miss you Kobe and all that you taught us.

The fighting senator is also fond of basketball, having been a playing coach himself in the PBA under Kia (now Terrafirma Dyip) from 2014 to 2017. He only played for 10 games.

And his idol is no less than the late Lakers legend, Bryant.

Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, once visited Pacquiao in 2011 at Wild Card when the Filipino boxing legend was preparing for his trilogy against Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

In an interview with the New York Post a week after Bryant’s death, coach Freddie Roach revealed how excited Pacquiao was upon meeting his basketball idol.

While Bryant wanted to discuss boxing, Pacquiao would ask about basketball.

READ: Buboy Fernandez: Expect a different Pacquiao

“When Kobe came in, he was a gentleman,” said Roach. “He asked me about Manny’s training methods and how we came up with his training camp structure and why we did things in a particular order. He was a really good guy and nice to everybody.

“He went crazy when Kobe came in that day,” Roach said of Pacquiao. “That was unbelievable. It was the best day of his life, I think,” added the veteran boxing trainer.

READ: Freddie Roach amazed with Pacquiao’s power on Day 1 of US training

Now come the night of Aug. 21, Bryant will play a huge part in motivating Pacquiao ahead of his mega-bout against Spence, who remains unbeaten in 27 matches on top of 21 knockouts.

Pacquiao, 42, for his part, has not fought since beating Keith Thurman in July 2019 to capture the super WBA welterweight belt, which he eventually lost last January due to inactivity.

But the WBA is mulling to reinstate the eight-division world boxing champion as its super welterweight champion anytime soon.