Rodolfo "Jun" Aquino is a struggling painter, he was given his biggest break by Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao last November when he held his one man exhibit of Pacquiao paintings in relation to the festivities of fight week during the third fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. They flew him from the Philippines to exhibit his various paintings of the Filipino boxer. His exhibit ran for six days at the Dal Toro Ristorante, located at The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
According to Philboxing.com by Rick Mazon, Aquino saw Mayweather on his way to his luxury vehicle and escorted by his big, burly bodyguards, Aquino and Otamias raised his painting of the boxer and waved it in front of Mayweather's car. He also was waving his pen, signifying that he wanted the painting to be signed by the famous boxer. Aquino's painting caught the eye of the boxer, because the passenger seat window where Mayweather was seating rolled down and the boxer yelled "We want that.", pointing to the painting. Aquino and Otamias approached the vehicle and Otamias asked Mayweather if he can sign this paining for them. But the boxer's bodyguards pushed them back and told them to "Back off!" Mayweather's bodyguards were shielding the car from a large group of fans that were chasing the boxer's car.
Aquino and Otamias then walked away from the melee and decided to head for the exit. But Aquino saw the car's driver gesturing at them and yelling "We want that painting, Come!" So Aquino approached the vehicle for the second time but was once again blocked by one of the boxer's bodyguards. The said bodyguard then snatched his painting and threw it away. He then shouted at Aquino, "We don't want that. Back off!"
Aquino retreated and went to direction where the painting was thrown, picked it up and decided to get out of there for good. As they were walking out of the parking garage, the Rolls Royce stopped by them and the boxer's driver rolled his window and once again asked for the painting. "Give us that painting," he asked Aquino and Otamias. So they approached the vehicle for the third time, handed them the painting and the pen to used to sign it. "I quickly handed them my painting before the crowd went wild again and I handed my sign pen to the driver," Aquino narrated. "I first thought he will invite me to his car because his bodyguard let me (go) near Floyd. But as soon as I hand(ed) them down my painting , quickly the driver stepped on the pedal," the frustrated Aquino told me. Mayweather and company just fled away with Aquino's painting, and yes his pen as well.
This left the two in awe. They were shocked at what has just transpired. Did the unbeaten, popular boxer just pulled one on them? Did that really happened? Were they bamboozled by Team Mayweather? Then reality sunk in, when they realized that they were left there in the middle of the driveway, without the painting in hand. Yes, they were tricked. They were conned. And they cannot believe it. They are left with no autographs, no desired pictures, no painting and no pen in a parking garage in Hollywood. They were blown away at what just happened. Did Mayweather just picked on a lowly fan and a struggling painter who just wanted a simple autograph of the boxer on his artwork?
Aquino and Otamias left the venue feeling frustrated and rightfully so. Fans who witnessed the incident expressed anger on what they saw. They expressed disgust on the actions committed by Team Mayweather.
Aquino though was not quick to judge. "I understand their situation because the crowd that was following them were like zombies in a movie," he told me. He consoles himself with the thought that one of the most popular athlete in the world liked his painting. But you can sense the frustration in his voice as we talked over the phone. You can feel his pain and humiliation. It's amazing that Aquino, who has the moniker of the "Pac-painter" owing to his artworks of Mayweather's biggest rival off the ring, was the subject of the boxer's antic. "It's a small world indeed," exclaimed Aquino.
I nor Aquino aren't saying that Mayweather and his team intended to steal the painting. They probably were rushing to get out of there to avoid the horde of fans clamoring for an autograph and pictures. They probably wanted to buy it but did not have time to make an offer. Or they probably wanted to simply sign it and give it back to the owner but circumstances forced them to drive away with it. Questions only Floyd Mayweather can clarify and answer. That is why I am writing this article as requested by Aquino himself. We do not judge him but simply wanted answers and clarification on what happened. And yes, Aquino want his painting back, if that is fine with Mr. Mayweather. "Even though this thing happened, I am so thankful to the Lord because I know that painting is in good hands right now," Aquino expressed.