Buboy Fernandez ready to step up if Pacquiao doesn't tap Roach

Dino Maragay - Philstar.com
Buboy Fernandez ready to step up if Pacquiao doesn't tap Roach
Buboy Fernandez addresses the audience during Wednesday's press conference for the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse fight.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to previous reports, Manny Pacquiao maintained he hasn’t decided yet on whether to tap his longtime trainer Freddie Roach to help him prepare for WBA welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse.

But the person likely to succeed Roach said he’s ready, willing and able to take over as Pacquiao’s chief cornerman if he gets the call.

Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood buddy and longtime assistant trainer, said he understands the huge responsibility that’s about to fall on his shoulders.

“Syempre proud ka dahil kahit papaano binigay sa iyo yung responsibilidad sa laban na 'to. Dahil itong kalaban natin hindi din basta basta. Ang importante kung ano man ang natutunan natin kay Coach Freddie, naka-prepare tayo (Of course I’m proud to be given such a huge responsibility in this important fight. What matters is whatever we learned from Coach Freddie, we’re ready to apply them),” Fernandez told reporters at the sidelines of Wednesday’s press conference for the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight.

But like his best friend, Fernandez said Roach is not totally out of the picture.

“Habang wala pa yung kapitan ng barko, bilang assistant gampanan muna natin yun. Kasi ang final words pa din na kay senador. Ang importante simulan na natin yung training (While the captain of the ship is still out, as assistant we must play our role. The senator still has the final word. What’s important is to start training already),” he added.

The spotlight has shifted to Fernandez following widely circulated reports that Roach is out as Pacquiao’s trainer. The bespectacled cornerman even issued a statement last week saying he was “hurt” to learn of his sacking through the media.

But Pacquiao insisted there’s still no finality regarding Roach’s fate.

“I'm leaving the door open for Freddie," he told reporters Wednesday.

Fernandez, for his part, admitted that Roach is irreplaceable.

“Yung sarili ko kasi, hindi natin pwede ikumpara kay coach Freddie. Legendary yun eh. Wala na akong na-meet na greater pa sa kaniya (I can never compare myself to Coach Freddie. He’s legendary. There’s no greater trainer I’ve met),” he said.

But he added that he has learned enough from the master trainer to be able get Pacquiao in prime condition against the dangerous Matthysse on July 15 in Malaysia.

“Tayo lagi naman tayong nakahanda (We’re always ready),” Fernandez continued.

And Pacquiao has faith in his best friend.

“I believe Buboy can handle it. He has worked with me since the beginning,” said the fighting senator.

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