FREDDIE Roach not in the corner of boxing great Manny Pacquiao for the first time in 17 years is like losing the head of the family.
Buboy Fernandez concedes everything will be different.
“Siyempre, mahirap na may mawala sa team kasi si coach Freddie, sabi nga ng fighting senator natin, pamilya na, parang tatay na namin sa loob ng team,” said Fernandez as he addressed for the first time the issue surrounding the likelihood of him taking over from the legendary Roach as Pacquiao’s trainer for his world welterweight title match against Lucas Matthyse on July 15.
Roach said last week he hasn’t heard directly from his most celebrated fighter on his status as trainer amid press releases from Pacquiao's camp saying Fernandez and Nonoy Neri will be supervising training camp, without mention of Roach.
The Filipino senator reiterated he hasn’t made a decision yet and stressed Roach will be the first one to be informed if he finally makes up his mind.
In the meantime, Fernandez said he’s been tasked by his childhood pal to oversee his training against Matthysse which begins next week in General Santos City.
“As assistant trainer, tatayuan mo muna. Kumbaga walang kapitan yung barko ninyo, so ikaw muna ang magdadala,” Buboy said.
Fernandez admitted he hadn’t talked with the former boxer turned Hall of Fame trainer, with whom he has worked in Pacquiao’s corner since 2001.
“Kinausap lang ako (ni Pacquiao) na prepare ka, kasi may laban tayong darating. Always prepare ka kasi kayo ang magdadala muna ng training natin. Meron lang tayong aayusin na problema,” he added without elaborating what that problem is.
Fernandez admitted learning greatly while working as Roach’s understudy, and said he’ll never come close to achieving what Roach, a seven-time Trainer of the Year, has accomplished as a teacher of the sweet science.
“Hindi ko puwedeng ikumpara yung sarili ko kay coach Freddie. Freddie Roach is legendary,” he said. “Wala akong ibang na-meet na tao pa na pinakamagaling na trainer, si coach Freddie lang.”
But then, he has a job to do.
“Bilang assistant trainer gampanan mo yung trabaho mo,” said Fernadez.
Buboy believes he’ll be up to the task, having trained Pacquiao thrice in the past on his own.
“Based sa experience natin, may mga laban din naman na tayo mismo yung nasa loob ng ring. I had three fights na tayo yung nagdala ng laban,” he pointed out. “Ang importante lang naman dito ay maibigay natin yung magandang kundisyon sa ating fighting senator.”
Fernandez said he definitely welcomes the opportunity of working side-by-side with Roach again, but admitted it was not his decision to make.
“Kung ano ang desisyon niya (Pacquiao) tanggapin natin,” Fernandez said.