KEY POINTS

  • Manny Pacquiao had plans for a Yordenis Ugas rematch before officially retiring
  • A Filipino coach admits he was surprised by Pacquiao’s sudden decision to retire
  • Change of opponent could have affected Pacquiao in his most recent fight

Manny Pacquiao is officially retired with most still having a hard time believing it.

But if there are people who were pretty much shocked at the sudden announcement, it was the coaches who helped the "Pac-Man" when he prepared for a bout against WBO welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas.

One of the men present when Pacquiao was busy preparing for the Ugas fight is a former boxer and now coach Ernel Fontanilla.

The 41-year-old appeared on the Baby Dynamite Sports podcast on Saturday, October 30 and shared some of the things that happened before and after the boxer’s clash with the Cuban pugilist.

In his native tongue, Fontanilla shared that everything was running smoothly in training until the last two days before the actual fight.

According to Fontanilla, Pacquiao appeared to be so excited that he may have overdone it.

"Everything was fine until the last days of Senator Pacquiao's training camp. Everything was perfect, the training atmosphere and preparations were just right. The only thing that was different was I think the last Friday where he got a bit too excited, where I think he rushed things a bit in training," Fontanilla said in Filipino.

Fontanilla also believes that the change of opponent with only 10 days to prepare also played a factor.

Although there is no question that Pacquiao is an established name in the sport, Fontanilla argued that the celebrated Filipino southpaw prepared for a different fighter, referring to Errol Spence Jr.

"I think it was 10 days before it was announced that the senator would be facing a new opponent. I think that was hard. For him, I think it was just okay. Being Manny Pacquiao, he felt he could take on anyone and that it wasn't much of a problem. But I don't really know what their plans were at that time, as well as the plans of the side of Spence. We will never know. It was really tough because Manny was preparing for a different fighter who had a different style," he explained.

"Even if you ask Manny Pacquiao, he considers this fight [against Ugas] was something he considered manageable."

Pacquiao, as most know, lost to Ugas via unanimous decision this past August, something that he accepted gracefully.

When asked if the eight-division world champion had mentioned anything about his decision to call it a career, Fontanilla had no clue about it.

Moreover, the boxer-turned-coach divulged that they were even told to be on standby because a rematch with Ugas was on the table.

“He told us, 'You guys prepare, we will do a rematch. We have a rematch,'” Fontanilla recalled.

Fontanilla bared that Pacquiao was cheerful when he gave those remarks.

But after that, the next thing that Fontanilla and the boxing world found out was that Pacquiao opted to retire and focus on his bid to run for the Philippine presidency in 2022.

Fontanilla owes a lot to Pacquiao who supported him when the chips were down.

"It came to a point where I stopped boxing, but senator Manny and vice-mayor Buboy Fernandez convinced me to continue. I was going through hard times then. Then one day as my visa was expiring, the senator called me and said that we were heading to the US," he remembered.

"At first, I thought it was a joke because the senator would always kid around. So when I went to the airport, I was surprised that I was handed a plane ticket by Gerry Penalosa. He told me that this was my ticket and I was headed to the US," Fontanilla added.

"I only had a shirt and my passport when I went to America. When I got there, I knew that this was the break I was hoping for."

Now, Fontanilla's main task is to help up-and-coming boxing, joining hands with another renowned boxing coach in Lucas Sugar.

Both are busy training Marlon Tapales and Jade Bornea for their respective upcoming matches.

Manny Pacquiao lost against Yordenis Ugas of Cuba in Las Vegas Manny Pacquiao lost against Yordenis Ugas of Cuba in Las Vegas Photo: AFP / Patrick T. FALLON