HOLLYWOOD—Manny Pacquiao doesn’t want to be distracted by the antics of Adrien Broner.
Neither is he paying much attention to a seeming animosity brewing in his corner.
Even his rumored bid for the Philippine presidency is far from his mind at the moment.
Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s best friend, sat in the far corner of the crowded Wild Card Gym while Freddie Roach held the mitts for the world’s one and only eight-division champion.
Clearly, something is wrong.
And when Pacquiao noticed this, he asked Fernandez to join them in the ring, although the Hall-of-Fame trainer Roach continued holding the mitts.
Fernandez was promoted to chief trainer when Pacquiao clashed with Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse last year, but the rehiring of Roach for the Broner bout has obviously put his best buddy in the back seat again.
Pacquiao, though, was quick to dismiss this, saying that his team is stronger than ever.
“We know each other very well. Team Pacquiao is strong,” said Pacquiao when somebody asked why he rehired Roach for the Jan. 19 fight despite dropping him following a disastrous loss to Jeff Horn in 2017.
Pacquiao said he wanted to give Fernandez a chance to become the head trainer for the fight against Matthysse. And Fernandez passed with flying colors as Pacquiao scored his first knockout win in nine years to revive his career.
Roach said he was willing to yield the reins to Fernandez, who was his lieutenant in so many triumphs.
“Manny told me ‘I want him (Fernandez) to be better known as a trainer and when he (Pacquiao) retires, he will have a future in boxing,” said Roach. “So I said I have no problem with that. We will work on that, we have worked together as a team.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao played down reports linking him to a bid for the presidency, insisting he remained solely focused on the twilight of his boxing career.
The 40-year-old, already a member of the Philippine Senate, has been repeatedly linked to a future run for the presidency in his homeland where he remains a national hero.
However, Pacquiao told reporters on Wednesday he had put any future political aspirations on hold as he prepares to defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight title against Broner at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
“A lot of people are saying that I can be the next president,” Pacquiao told Agence France-Presse.
“But I’m not thinking about that. Whatever path that God gives to me, I will fulfill it.”
“I haven’t spoken to him about running for president but he wants to help the people and the best way to help people is to be the boss,” Roach told reporters.
For the time being though, Pacquiao insists he is not looking past Broner.
Broner on Wednesday put a touch of drama to his upcoming fight with Pacquiao by not showing up for media workout day.
Broner, the 29-year-old nicknamed “The Problem,” flew over from South Beach, Florida, where he had his training camp. —WITH A REPORT FROM AFP
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