Hollywood—The cord that binds Manny Pacquiao and Buboy Fernandez is flexible and unbreakable.
They were so close that the first words Pacquiao uttered upon regaining consciousness after getting knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez were: “Boy nasan ka (Buboy where are you?).”
Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood buddy was right beside him, holding his head above the canvas after turning him over when he saw him motionless, eyes closed.
Unable to answer, Fernandez took out Pacquiao’s mouthpiece to clear his air passage and he was too glad that his friend reacted as if in pain.
“Anong nangyari, tapos na ba ang laban (What happened, is the fight over),” Pacquiao asked Fernandez, who replied, “Oo brod, nasingitan tayo (Yes brod, he was able sneak in?).
That brief conversation relieved Fernandez, who’d been with Pacquiao since their teen years in Gen. Santos City. “I knew then that he’s going to be okay,” said Fernandez in Filipino, “especially when I asked him to move his feet and he did.”
Ignoring the ring doctors attending to Pacquiao, Fernandez aided his friend to his corner’s stool, where he eventually recovered to stand and walk by his own.
Fernandez, now serving as Pacquiao’s assistant trainer, offered no excuses to the sudden reversal as Pacquiao, despite being knocked down in the third round, was ahead in all of the three judges’ scorecards.
“Napuruhan talaga (It was a direct hit),” said Fernandez, after viewing the tape of the fight with Pacquiao, who agreed that the knockout wouldn’t have happened had he not neglected a move they’ve been practicing at Wild Card Gym.
“He (Pacquiao) doesn’t move to the right, while he’d mastered the left movements,” said Fernandez, who’s acquired properties in Bicol, including land, cars and motorcyles, which is his passion.
“When he got knocked down, I told him: “Don’t do that brod. Just play your game.”
Pacquiao responded, darting in and out to score a knockdown with a long left in the fifth round. “It was not even strong,” according to Pacquiao. “I’m just warming up.”
Unfortunately, Pacquiao ran smack into that dynamite right.
Like Pacquiao, who took his third knockout loss in stride, Fernandez believes his friend will rebound in no time.
They fell together, they will rise together. /inquirer