HOUSTON – There’s an angel inside Angel Hernandez, who helped turn Juan Manuel Marquez into a monster inside the ring.
At the PlazAmericas here Friday afternoon, the controversial strength and conditioning coach for Marquez spoke gently of Manny Pacquiao, who suffered a terrible loss to Marquez last week in Las Vegas.
He extended his warmest greetings to the Filipino champion, who is celebrating his 34th birthday in his home province of General Santos City on Dec. 17.
Hernandez, who once admitted peddling illegal performance-enhancing drugs to star athletes, is glad that Pacquiao is doing well after last Saturday’s knockout.
He also extended his condolences to the families of the hundreds of Filipinos who died from a typhoon that ripped across the southern part of the country more than a week ago.
“I want to do (extend) my condolences to the people. I live in Mexico and in the past we had a lot of earthquakes,” Hernandez told Pinoy scribes at the PlazAmericas foodcourt.
Hernandez is here behind Mexican Jorge Arce who goes up against Filipino WBO super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. Saturday at the Toyota Center.
The strength and conditioning expert was told that Pacquiao is celebrating his birthday.
“I want to tell him happy birthday. But I’m a little mad because he didn’t invite me,” said Hernandez who in the days leading to the fight had to ward off accusations of Marquez’ use of illegal enhancers.
“Tell him happy birthday and I’m glad he’s doing good,” he repeated.
Hernandez said he thinks Pacquiao, despite the scary knockout he suffered in the hands of Marquez at the MGM Grand, will not retire.
“I don’t think he will retire because he’s a tremendous fighter. He’s still one of my favorites. He’s a warrior. Tell him happy birthday,” he said.
Also at the pro-Latino venue, one of Pacquiao’s former rivals from Mexico, Marco Antonio Barrera, sent his warmest birthday greetings to the Filipino icon.
“Hi Manny. Happy birthday from Team Barrera and myself,” said the great Mexican boxer..
“Just relax. Enjoy Christmas with your family. Happy New Year and after that you can think of what to do,” Barrera said.