IN his prime, Jimrex “The Executioner” Jaca was a formidable boxer.
In his 15-year professional boxing career, Jaca, who hails from Sibulan, Negros Oriental, fought in 52 fights and won 40 of them. He earned his moniker by knocking his opponents out cold. At least 22 boxers were knocked down by his ferocious offensive.
At age 17 and just two years since his professional debut, Jaca knocked out Bobby Pacquiao, the brother of Filipino boxing icon and now Sen. Manny Pacquiao, in the first round of their bout.
Aside from Pacquiao, Jaca fought with boxing greats like Juan Manuel Marquez.
Despite losing to Marquez in the ninth round, Jaca earned the Mexican champion’s respect by almost knocking him out in the second round of their interim WBO featherweight title fight.
Jaca is also a former Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation Superbantam weight champion and former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific Super Feartherweight champion.
In 2015, Jaca, whose real name is Jemuel Divino, mysteriously disappeared from the limelight.
Three years after, SunStar Cebu found Divino and learned that he has left his boxing career behind him.
Divino, 34, is now a single father working as a traffic enforcer in Talisay City.
In an interview yesterday, Divino said he retired in 2015 after his late wife, Brendalyn, was diagnosed with diabetes.
He left the sport just after his victory against Mexican boxer Pablo Lugo Montiel in Dubai.
Since then, Divino had to focus on taking care of his sick wife and raising their only daughter.
When his wife died last year at the age of 36, Divino said the experience was worse than being knocked down in the ring.
“Sakit gyud. Nawagtangan gyud ko sa hunahuna ato (I was hurt. I thought I’d lose my mind),” Divino said.
Following his wife’s death, Divino said he received offers to either fight again or train young boxers to become future champions. He turned them down.
It was his wife’s death that served as the turning point for him to leave boxing for good.
Now, Divino is more enthusiastic about being on the road than being on the ring.
“Mas nalingaw ko aning akong pagka-traffic enforcer dili kay tungod gusto lang ko mu-man og traffic pero kay nakatabang ko sa mga tawo (I enjoy helping people, not just manning traffic),” Divino said.
His daughter, now 14, also gives him his daily dose of inspiration.
Divino decided to apply to become a traffic enforcer for the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority last month.
Before that, Divino worked as a contractual driver for the municipal government of San Fernando.
Though he has sworn to leave boxing for good, Divino admitted the sport had helped him in different ways.
Through boxing, Divino was able to buy a house-and-lot for his late wife and daughter in Barangay Tabunok and help his family in Sibulan.
Asked if he missed being a boxer, Divino said there were moments he felt he wanted to go back.
“Mingawon man gyud ta. Pero karun, mas nalingaw ko sa akong trabaho karon isip traffic enforcer (I miss it sometimes. But I’m enjoying working as a traffic enforcer),” Divino added.