HOLLYWOOD – When Manny Pacquiao opened his eyes, after being knocked out cold at the MGM Grand Saturday, first thing he did was look for his long-time friend, Buboy Fernandez.
"Buboy, nasan ka? (Buboy, where are you?)," said Pacquiao, almost mumbling, as narrated by Fernandez, who is also the fighter's assistant trainer, to Pinoy scribes Sunday.
Pacquiao lay motionless for a minute near his corner after taking a perfect right straight from Juan Manuel Marquez in the chin. He fell like a log, face first.
Fernandez knew it was a solid knockout.
"Hindi siya gumagalaw. Nakapikit ang mga mata niya (He wasn't moving. His eyes were closed)," said Fernandez, trying to re-trace every moment.
He gently rolled Pacquiao over and took his mouthpiece off.
By this time, Filipino doctor Alex Recto, also a good friend of the boxer and an accredited member of Team Pacquiao, had rushed to Pacquiao's side.
"Nung maalis ko ang mouthpiece ni Manny nagtanong ulit siya (When I removed his mouthpiece he asked another question)," said Fernandez.
"Anong nangyari? Tapos na laban? (What happened? Is the fight over?)," were Pacquiao’s words.
It was pretty obvious that Pacquiao didn’t know what hit him – a right straight that came with only one second left in the sixth round.
Marquez or any other boxer could not have delivered that punch any better.
"Oo brad, tapos na (Yes, brother it's over). Nasingitan tayo (He sneaked one on us)," was Fernandez’ answer.
A foreign ring physician asked Fernandez to let him work on Pacquiao, but the Filipino trainer, perhaps in shock as well, said he won't leave Pacquiao.
"Sandali! Kaibigan ko ito (Wait! This is my friend)," he told the doctor.
Fernandez obliged upon seeing that Pacquiao had slowly regained his senses.
Recto said the first thing he did was pull the beltline of Pacquiao's trunks to let him breath easier. He also tried to check on Pacquiao's senses.
"I asked him if he knew where he was," said Recto.
"Las Vegas," was the answer he got from Pacquiao, who after a minute or so, slowly got up with the help of ring officials.
"Okay na, kaya ko na tumayo (It's okay. I can stand on my own)," Pacquiao apparently said.
Pacquiao smiled as he walked on his own, and then he tried to get to Marquez to congratulate the Mexican winner, and tapped Marquez's shoulders.
"I told him it was a good fight," said Pacquiao.
Fernandez said it was a pity that the knockout came with just a second left in the sixth round.
"Lamang na tayo sa laban (We had the upperhand). At basag na ang ilong ni Marquez," said Fernandez.
"Pero nasingitan nga tayo. No excuses. We lost the fight."”
Recto was inside the ambulance that took Pacquiao to the University Medical Center for precautionary tests. The boxer's wife, Jinkee, was also on board.
"Even inside the ambulance, Manny was saying it was a good fight and Marquez won the fight. He was okay. He was on a stretcher but it was in a 45-degree angle," said Recto.
In the hospital, Pacquiao underwent CT scan, and the results were all negative. He was also taken to a trauma room where he was allowed to rest, and he was seen by a specialist.
Recto said that at the hospital, Pacquiao's blood pressure was 120/70 and his pulse rate at 62 per minute. They were allowed to leave after more than an hour.
"I knew he was okay. I knew he was fine although he will remain under observation until the coming days. What doctors will be looking for would be an altered mental status, meaning severe headaches, vomiting and confusion," said Recto.
The morning after, Pacquiao didn't show any sign. He was greeting everybody with a smile.
"I'm fine," was his assurance.