At 38 years old, Manny Pacquiao is, by all accounts, already in the twilight of his boxing career.
But co-trainer Buboy Fernandez doesn’t see his close friend leaving the fight business anytime soon.
“Hindi nawawala sa puso nya ang pagiging boxer,” Fernandez said during Pacquiao's training session this week in Pasay City. “Hinahanap-hanap kasi ng katawan niya.”
He said that even after being elected senator, Pacquiao still keeps himself in shape by regularly playing basketball to maintain his conditioning in anticipation of a fight.
Fernandez said that, as long as Team Pacquiao doesn’t see lapses in the world champ during training, they wouldn’t discourage him from continue boxing.
“As long as nakikitaan pa namin siya ng sipag sa training, tuloy ang laban. Nandoon pa rin naman, makikita mo na ‘pag nag-practice kami ayaw n’yang nakukulangan ng suntok,” he said. “So hindi ko pwede siyang sabihan na mag-retire na. Kasi sya ang nakakaalam sa katawan niya.”
Pacquiao actually announced his retirement after beating Timothy Bradley in their rubber match in April 2016.
But after his election to the Senate in the May 2016 polls, Pacquiao returned to the ring in November to beat Mexican-American Jessie Vargas.
Speed and Mayweather
Fernandez acknowledges that Pacquiao is not as fast as before, but Pacquiao’s punching power remains damaging.
“Sabihin natin iyong speed bumaba ng konti kasi umakyat na ang edad n’ya. Sa speed medyo nagbawas ng konti pero sa lakas pareho pa rin,” said Fernandez.
On July 2, Pacquiao will face unheralded Aussie boxer Jeff Horn in a bout that raised not a few eyebrows among fight pundits.
When asked which boxer he would like to see his friend fight, Fernandez came up with a straight answer.
“Mag (Floyd) Mayweather na lang tayo para tapos na. Kung ayaw na natin sa ibabaw ng ring, s’ya lang at wala nang iba,” he said.
Pacquiao lost to Mayweather via unanimous decision in 2015, but Fernandez said he sees his buddy having a better chance now at beating the American boxer.
“Para sa akin, naniniwala ako na mananalo tayo roon sa rematch na ‘yun,” he said. “Basta gawin natin ang lahat.”
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