Manny Pacquiao’s head coach Buboy Fernandez has hit back at suggestions from Freddie Roach that the newly minted WBA welterweight champion should consider retiring.
Roach, the long-time trainer of Pacquiao, was replaced by Fernandez in the wake of the Filipino superstar’s shock loss to Australian Jeff Horn two years ago.
“[Roach] doesn’t get to say that. I’m the chief trainer now,” said Fernandez, a childhood friend of Pacquiao’s, told the Inquirer. “I get to say when it is time [for Pacquiao to retire].”
Pacquiao, 40, handed previously undefeated Keith Thurman his first loss by split decision in Las Vegas on Saturday night to become the oldest welterweight champion in history.
Earlier, Roach hinted that now might be the time for Pacquiao to hang up the gloves.
“Manny, he fought a great fight last night. He took a little too many hits, and maybe a little bit too much punishment,” said Roach. “So we have to sit down and talk and see who’s next or maybe it (fighting career) might be over.
The Wild Card Gym boss was pleased to see Pacquiao get the win but added he was concerned about the punishment his former star pupil took in the fight.
“He looked good [during the fight]. [But] I’m a little bit worried that he may have took too many punches,” said Roach, who has been with Pacquiao since his US debut against Lehlo Ledwaba 18 years ago.
“So next time we speak, we need to sit down and talk about maybe what’s next. Maybe it’s over, maybe there’s no next [fight] at this point.”
After returning to Manila, Pacquiao was asked about retirement.
“Not yet. I’m still happy fighting [in the ring],” he replied in Filipino. “My performance [against Thurman] was OK. I just have to manage my time.
“I continue my boxing career for a purpose, to inspire our people to rise above their limitations and overcome their circumstances.”
Fernandez is adamant Pacquiao can still deliver world-class performances in the future.
“The fighting senator is already [turning] 41; what we need to do is protect his career,” he said.
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