MY father was a professional boxer and he instilled that in my brother Rafael and I and I think it’s just in our blood. Without a doubt, any time you start boxing you don’t know what you’re getting into, it’s a very difficult time, but as you learn the craft I think you get better and it gets easier. I think at the beginning it’s always very tough.
I could have been a professional two years before I turned pro at 19. But I had a back injury that delayed my professional career until I was almost 20. I was ready to turn pro and as soon as the back injury got resolved I started training for it.
My trainer Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Beristain started me as a professional. My father is the one that started me in boxing, then we met this guy named Rafael Rojas who used to be an assistant with Nacho and so we came into his gym and that’s how our relationship started.
It’s all about phases – sometimes he’s my friend, sometimes he’s my teacher. I think when you are part of a team those relationships have to be different at different times. I think we work well and we have created a really good team. He’s very strong-minded, he makes us do what he wants us to do, and I think any boxer needs that kind of discipline, a guy that will push you, and he’s pushed me all my career. I think that his biggest strength is as a guy you can’t say no to. He’s very strong-willed and there’s an old saying that, ‘If you run with the wolf you’re going to howl just like them’, and I think I’m with a big wolf and I’m howling just like he does.
With me and Pacquiao, I think it’s just a question of style – the way I fight and the way he fights matches up very nicely and makes for a great fight. My style is perfect to give him problems. I just think it’s worked, I think that’s why our fights are so great and why I’ve made things so difficult for him.
The most important thing to me is intelligence. You have to be smart in the ring and keep focused on what you are doing and to me it’s about being smart and using my skills.
(I was famously filmed on HBO 24/7 drinking my own urine. Years ago, one of my doctors told me, “This could help you if you do this” – drink your own urine – and I believed in it. I only did it while preparing for fights, in training, to help me with vitamins and give me strength.)