Pre-game traditions and rituals are therapeutic for professional athletes and it's no different for the sport of boxing.
In the days leading up to Manny Pacquiao's fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, Pac-Man will go through a routine. Whether it's gorging on tinolang manok or kneeling down and praying for success and safety in the ring, Pacquiao will stick to his routine.
In the past couple of years, though, it appears that Pac-Man's pre-fight rituals have undergone a makeover.
ESPN's Nigel Collins recently touched on how different Pacquiao's pre-fight routine is now than in the years' past, which was also discussed when Pacquiao appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, as you'll see below.
As you heard in the video, Pacquiao no longer engages in controversial behavior before his fights, but does that affect how he performs in the ring?
I say no.
Despite what the judges' scorecards read, Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and what he did—or stopped doing—before that fight had no bearing on the outcome.
One thing that Ted Lerner, a writer who has followed Pacquiao's career in the Philippines, does believe is that religion, politics and business ventures have overtaken Pacquiao's focus and diminished his concentration in the ring (h/t ESPN):
I don't think the spark is there anymore. He's found religion, politics and business, and now has many other interests away from the ring. Clearly that special edge that made Manny a once-in-a-generation phenomenon has faded considerably and will continue to fade if he continues to fight.
Pac-Man will continue to train for this fight, eat his usual meals and conduct his usual amount of praying entering this fight, which shouldn't have an affect on how he boxes on Saturday night.
Lerner says that Pacquiao's business and religious ventures have distracted his focus and hunger to continue winning, but Pac-Man hasn't shown any indication of that in his previous fights.
As for Marquez, he's reportedly stopped drinking his own urine (h/t ABS-CBN News), so we'll have to wait and see how that works out for him.
Overall, I don't think any of these rituals really affect how the fighters perform in the ring.
Does eating healthy and training aid the process before a fight? Of course it does, but for Lerner and others to suggest that Pacquiao has lost his edge because he no longer drinks and gambles is absurd.
Luckily for Marquez, he no longer "drinks" either.
Be sure to visit Bleacher Report in our on-going coverage of Pacquiao vs. Marquez on Saturday night.
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