Buboy starts studying possible Pacquiao foes

Buboy Fernandez (left) drills Manny Pacquiao with focus mitts. PHOTO BY WENDELL ALINEA Spence Jr., the International Boxing Federation welterweight champion, and Thurman, the World Boxing Association super welterweight champion, both want to challenge the 40-year-old Pacquiao in the Philippines.

BY JOSEF T. RAMOS, TMT

Manny Pacquiao’s childhood pal and trainer Buboy Fernandez said he has already started studying Pacman’s next possible opponents.

Fernandez named top welterweight fighters Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. as prospects.

But there is no official announcement yet on Pacquiao’s next foe from the Premier Boxing Champions of Al Haymon and the fighting senator himself.

“We are not choosing any opponent. It depends on Al Haymon’s decision. Let’s just wait for it, but I’m already studying all the boxers in our list,” Fernandez told The Manila Times during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night on Tuesday at the Manila Hotel.

But Fernandez said they must study all options thoroughly.

“It’s not like buying candy. We need to study it first. I’m not nervous if it’s Thurman or the other boxers. We can study their styles as early as now,” added Fernandez.

Though Fernandez doesn’t see any changes in the quality of Pacquiao’s prowess and physical condition, he said it’s hard to say how many more fights are left in his career.

“As long as I don’t see any changes in his movement, I cannot tell if it’s time for him to retire or not. It depends on him. He’s still fast and strong,” added Fernandez.

Fernandez said their tedious preparation paid off when Pacquiao beat Adrien Broner via unanimous decision on January 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I was very happy because our strategy prevailed.”

Asked if Pacquiao (61-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 39 knockouts) could replicate his knockout win over Lucas Matthysse in July 15, 2018 in Malaysia, Fernandez said winning by knockout is no longer too important for them.

“Knockout just comes and we don’t expect it. What important is we’re careful during the fight. But if we see an opportunity, we will go for it.