By Nick Giongco
The punches came in bunches and they were either heavy or quick, or most of the time, even both.
For nearly 30 minutes, Buboy Fernandez’s hands, adorned with a pair of heavy-duty leather mitts, took the thudding blows of his childhood friend and current boss Manny Pacquiao, who is getting ready to defend his world welterweight title against unbeaten Australian challenger Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane.
Fernandez, huffing and puffing, tried his best to catch Pacquiao’s punches each time the Filipino fighter threw his fast combinations with the intention of pleasing him.
But Pacquiao wasn’t amused; Fernandez was beginning to tire and he simply could not keep up with his blistering phase.
Still, Fernandez refused to acknowledge that not only his hands were beginning to shake from the continued jarring. Even his entire body is beginning to fail him.
Fortunately, when the roof was about to cave in, the bell sounded.
“Time,” shouted one of Pacquiao’s training assistants to signal that the session is done.
“Finally,” Fernandez told himself, now looking and sounding relieved that the ordeal is over.
After eight rounds, or 24 minutes of constant pounding, it was time for Fernandez to take a break and an opportunity for him to head to a quiet corner of the gym to cool down and give his hands a much-needed rest.
Sadly, it’s going to be just temporary. In 24 hours, Pacquiao would again do the same thing and Fernandez will have no choice but to show up and reenact it the following day.
Still, Fernandez believes all the hard work is going to pay off as he predicts Horn’s doom at the 55,000-seat Suncorp Stadium, where Andrew Webster, the Chief Sports Writer of the Sydney Morning Herald, said will be filled to capacity.
“Horn’s going down,” Fernandez told the Bulletin, likening Horn to a nondescript local foe Pacquiao had easily knocked out nearly 20 years ago.
Raising his right index finger, Fernandez said Horn would resemble Reynante Jamili, who was so erect and straight that a punching bag had more chances of evading getting struck.
“He’s (Horn) easy to hit,” observed Fernandez, who will take the backseat once Freddie Roach checks in sometime next week to preside over the preparations until the team departs for Australia in the third week of June.
But Fernandez and Pacquiao are not taking any chances against the younger and fresher Horn.
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