Buboy pushes back on retirement calls, says Pacquiao’s career deserves better ending
Against Freddie Roach’s will, and possibly against Nevada Athletic Commission regulations, Buboy Fernandez strode up to the ring in Manny Pacquiao’s corner during the fight against Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.
Nothing could stop him.
“What do you expect me to do, allow my best friend to suffer out there?” Fernandez said on Monday in Filipino. “I thought to myself, when the cramps began I have to take charge. So I went up.”
So it comes as little surprise that Fernandez will swim against the tide on the discussion about Pacquiao’s future plans.
Pacquiao, stricken by cramps in both his hamstrings at the start of the second round, dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Ugas, the Cuban World Boxing Association welterweight super champion, on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
That prompted a deluge of tributes for Pacquiao. But with it came calls for his retirement, as well.
That didn’t sit well for Fernandez, who grew up together with Pacquiao.
“Look, people call him a legend,” said Fernandez. “Do you think it would be all right for me to see him being beaten by an almost unknown boxer? That his legendary career would end just like that?”
For Fernandez, that’s tantamount to letting Pacquiao’s legacy circle down the drain.
Ultimately, Fernandez said, the decision will come from the fighting senator.
But all Monday, the 42-year-old global superstar didn’t receive any visitors at his LA residence. A close aide said that “he’s still hurting.”
Top political ally Monico Puentevella said: “Today we haven’t talked because we want him to totally heal his minor wounds and rest.”
Even Fernandez hasn’t talked to him since arriving from Las Vegas on Sunday night.
“Millions of pesos could not compare to debt of gratitude I have for that person,” said Fernandez.
He said that’s why he became emotional when he saw Pacquiao at the locker room.
“He (Pacquiao) asked me ‘why are you crying?’’’ said Fernandez. “I told him he’s hard-headed. He should listen sometimes.”
Fernandez said Pacquiao stubbornly insisted on having extra rounds in sparring in Los Angeles and running at University of Nevada Las Vegas’ track oval during fight week.
The extra work may have taken a toll on the eight-division champion during fight night.
“I don’t want to use this as an excuse but before I can handle cramps even for 12 rounds; now I can’t move,” Pacquiao said after the fight.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.