“Lilipad uli si Superman (Superman will fly again).”
Those were the exact words uttered by Manny Pacquiao’s assistant trainer and boyhood friend Buboy Fernandez two days after the the Filipino ring icon had announced his retirement following his easy disposing off then American World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley last April.
Buboy told this writer, he was just quoting what his boss has said to him, his, brother Roger “Haplas,” and fellow assistant trainer Nonoy Neri while they were arranging the training paraphernalia at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles in preparation for Team Pacquiao’s departure for Manila.
“So right that very same day, we already realized that soon, Manny will be announcing he’ll fight again,” the portly assistant of head trainer Freddie Roach recalled last Tuesday during a lull in Pacquiao’s training for his comeback fight against current WBO 147-pound belt-holder Jessie Vargas.
The eight-division champ and Vargas will square off for 12 rounds on November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas with the Mexican-American’s 147-pound belt at stake.
“Reading between the lines, we knew that before the year ends, Manny will be climbing up that ring again to do the things he has loved doing the past two and-a-half-decades of his life,” Buboy said.
“We weren’t surprise really kasi sa tagal na ba naming magkakasama may maitatago pa ba naman kaming lihim sa isa’t-isa? the newly-elected councilor in the town of Polangui in Albay Province said.
“Mahal na mahal ni Manny ang boksing. It’s no secret naman na sa boksing siya nabuhay. And Boxing loves him so much, too. Everybody can see naman what boxing has done to him. With the help of Somebody up there, naging kampeon siya sa mundo hindi lamang isa kundi sampung beses. At sa walong dibisyon pa, ” Buboy stressed, his finger pointing to the sky.
“Nobody in the history of boxing has done that yet. At sa tingin ko, despite the presence of the present day young and fresh talents, wala pang pwedeng makagawa ng nagawa ni Manny in the near future,” Buboy asserted. “To do that, one has to start campaigning in the light-flyweight division then elevate to the higher levels.”
“Nobody can stop Manny from fighting again. Gusto lamang niya, kumbaga, na ibalik sa boksing ang mga naibigay sa kanya ng sport of sweet science,” Buboy remarked.
“That, coupled with the fact that he still is strong and as fast as before and with still plenty of gas in his tank will push him to lace his fighting gloves again,” he said.
“And don’t forget that if there’s another thing Manny loves doing is, making people happy. Kaya nga what I can say is, fasten up your seat belt, because Superman is flying again and will continue soaring until he gets tired,” Buboy said with a wide grin.
( Photos by Wendell Alinea/OSMP )