‘Buboy Roach’: Pacquiao’s secret weapon is his closest friend

I wrote three pieces for a special section on Manny Pacquiao in the March 20, 2005 issue of the Inquirer, on the occasion of the first Pacquiao-Morales fight. Here’s the second.

‘Buboy Roach’: Pacquiao’s secret weapon is his closest friend

By John Nery

Once, the Inquirer caught a slam-bang sparring session in Wild Card Gym between Gerry Balagbagan, Manny Pacquiao’s running partner, and a young Armenian boxer, Vanes Martirosyan.

Freddie Roach, the gym owner and Pacquiao’s trainer, stood outside Martirosyan’s corner. Standing opposite, in Balagbagan’s corner, was Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez, Pacquiao’s assistant trainer.

As Balagbagan and Martirosyan mixed it up, Fernandez shouted advice non-stop. “Pag-jab niya, pumasok ka na! (When he jabs, come in right away).” “Pasok! Pasok!” He was talking a mile a minute. Across the ring, Roach stood absolutely silent.

Unlikely as it seems, the low-key Roach and the expansive Fernandez make for a good team. When Pacquiao spars, they are both in his corner. And when Roach gives instructions, he gives them to Fernandez, who then relays it, in Filipino, to the man the American boxing press has taken to calling Pac-Man.

“I talk to Buboy so he tells Manny in Filipino because he understands that language much better than English, even though [Manny] understands me, of course,” Roach told the Inquirer and InqTV last month. “But the thing is, Buboy can translate it and the sparring partners, they don’t really know what we’re up to.”

Fernandez laughed when he was asked about the language advantage. That’s true, he said. The handlers of Erik Morales won’t understand Tagalog.

From dawn, when he wakes up Pacquiao for his morning run, to early evening, when he gives his close friend his glass of milk, Fernandez supervises Pacquiao’s life during training. It’s no big deal, he told the Inquirer and InqTV. Manny disciplines himself.

But his nickname among the knowing is an index of his work; they call him Buboy Roach. If Pacquiao considers himself like a son of the Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, Fernandez, let us say, is like a favorite nephew.

During the one week that InqTV spent with Team Pacquiao in Los Angeles in February, it was Fernandez who kept the closest watch on Pacquiao. At the double-end bag, he studied his friend intently, reminding him about a technical detail in his right hook. When Pacquiao shadow-boxed, he leaned on the ropes and followed his friend’s every move. After a session with the speed bag, he took out a towel from Pacquiao’s gym bag and rubbed him down.

One Fan’s Day, when the champion was being pressed on all sides by admirers and autograph-seekers, Pacquiao called on the one guy who can bring order to the familiar chaos and give him the necessary breathing room. “Buboy!” Pacquiao called out, and the crowd around him took up the call. “Buboy!” everyone shouted. “Buboy!”

Buboy Roach made his way through and created room for his friend.



Filed under Spiral Notebook

2 responses to “‘Buboy Roach’: Pacquiao’s secret weapon is his closest friend

  1. please send this message to manny pacquiao:

    please tell manny pacquiao to make good investments with his money for financial security for him and his family. We suggest he consider investing his money/investments below:

    1. Put up his own building in general santos even a 4 to 5 storey building and the rental will be his fixed monthly income but only spend 70% of the rental because 30% of the income would be maintenance of the building.( real estate rentals never devaluates and it would be his fixed income next time he won’t go boxing anymore)

    2. To put up a small commercial complex in general santos and still for rental on some of the commercial complex and same thing 70% would be his income and 30% would be for maintenance of this commercial complex.(real estate rentals would be his fixed income)
    – a. under his commercial complex, we suggest he put up a MCDonalds franchise in general santos, its a big income business and could afford the luxury of his life and savings at the same time and additional savings even his old.
    – b. under this commercial complex, we suggest he put up a ricky reyes haircutters beauty parlor because its a type of business that is commonly used by people and is also one of his fixed income earning business and additional savings even his old.

    3. He put around P 15 million pesos each as trust fund in the bank for his 3 kids for their assurance up to their old age.

    4. He put up a trust fund for his wife and him as savings/security for their old age and also for their health.

    5. All his savings suggest that he puts in his time deposit-not that big interest but assured of security of this savings.

    Note: Put his money in a secured bank like metrobank, banco de oro, citibank, bpi, standard chartered bank.

  2. Arlenea59

    Congratulations to Manny Pacquiao again for winning the fight against Margarito. Manny is the BEST Boxer in the whole world, no doubt about it. Now, that he has accomplished everything in his life, he is on Top now, I believe that it’s also time for him to stop boxing. Primarily, he concentrate in his family especially that his children are growing up. Secondary, is his business and his constituents. But first and foremost, which i knew he nver forget is his faith in God.

    Please my msgs to Pacman. Thank you.

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