With his headguard snug and his lead comfortable, Filipino light-flyweight contender had a bit of fun in his London 2012 opening bout against Italian boxer Manuel Cappai.
Knowing that he was coasting on the judges’ scorecards, the 19-year-old fighter from Panabo City, Davao del Norte did his “Pacquiao moves” in the third round, emulating Filipino fight icon Manny Pacquiao.
But Barriga planted the seeds of his victory early in the fight, after tagging Cappai with a solid straight to the face in the first round. Seeing his opponent’s expression changed, Barriga felt confident that he could pull out the win.
Because of his sensational performance, Barriga has earned the nickname “Little Pacquiao” from fellow fighters and international media organizations.
But the newfound celebrity has made him a bit uncomfortable, and in a statement coursed through the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines, he apologized for not being available to media.
“Pasensya na po sa lahat kung hindi muna ako makapagbigay ng interview. Medyo nagulat po ako sa biglang attensyon kahit unang panalo pa lang,” said Barriga.
“Malayo pa po ang kailangan naming gawin para maka medalya. Malalakas ang mga naghihintay na kalaban kaya ayaw kong mag celebrate muna. Focus muna sa training.”