How Manny Pacquiao Lost a Match to Justin Smith, Recounted on Instagram

January 27th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
Manny Pacquiao Justin Smith bluff

Manny Pacquiao may be one of the world’s greatest boxers, but he can be beat, at least at the poker table, according to Justin Smith. (Image:Steve Marcus/Reuters)

Manny Pacquiao isn’t an easy man to fool.

The Filipino boxer has won world championships in eight different weight divisions, having compiled a record of 57 wins, five losses, and two draws in his distinguished career.

He’s also been known to spend more than a little time at the poker table, where at least one poker player seems to have managed to bob and weave his way to victory over the southpaw.

Justin Smith, AKA “Boosted J,” recounted playing against Pacquiao on his Instagram account, recalling a time when he played the boxer for high stakes on the felt. Smith didn’t say where or when the poker game took place, but he did go into detail about one audacious bluff he pulled against Pacquiao.

Smith Says Bluff Happened in First Session with Pacquiao

“One day, Manny and I were playing poker for the first time ever together,” Smith wrote. “I ran one of the most aggressive bluffs ever in my career against him and I bet over $100k on the river, he thought for almost five minutes, and finally showed me that he had folded top pair of aces.”

Smith then recalled that Pacquiao asked to see his hand, but that he was reluctant to show it as he had absolutely nothing and was just going on a read that the champ was weak.

“Naturally, I don’t usually like to show my hands, and didn’t want to rub it in his face that I had outplayed or ‘fooled’ him,” Smith wrote. “I also didn’t want to make him upset since he was asking me to do something.”

But Pacquiao insisted, even after Smith asked several times, and eventually Smith relented.

“I showed him an absolute stone cold bluff and when his eyes compared my cards to the board to find the correlation that didn’t exist, his eyes darted back up to meet my eyes and his fists clenched up,” Smith wrote. “I realized I had pissed off not someone only I had been a big fan of, but someone who happened to be an 8 different weight division championship boxer.”

Pacquiao Reacts Well to Audacious Bluff

That may have seemed menacing, but Pacquiao wasn’t looking to add another knockout to his distinguished career.

“He abruptly stood up and charged walking over to me, I stood up, and he started roaring with laughter and shook my hand and gave me a back pat hug,” Smith said. “He respected the move I had made because he loves competitiveness.”

Overall, Smith said, the incident gave him a new appreciation for Pacquiao as a person, beyond just his boxing accomplishments.

“Manny is an international symbol and at the very top of the list of people I’ve been in absolute awe by when in his presence,” Smith wrote. “This man is a legend and one of the biggest inspirations to not only myself, but to many people across the planet. I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to take in how he handles himself and how he approaches life with my own eyeballs.”

Beyond his athletic prowess, Pacquiao has also become an important figure in Filipino politics.

In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines’ House of Representatives, representing the province of Sarangani. He also once played a game in the Philippine Basketball Association, and owns a team in the PBA’s developmental league.


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