For Manny Pacquiao fans, the best-case scenario heading into his Dec. 8 clash with Juan Manuel Marquez was that he’d conclusively beat Marquez, preferably by KO, and then hammer out a deal to meet Floyd Mayweather in the spring.
Things went off the rails, though, when Pacquiao got dropped and stopped in Round 6 by a counter right hand by Marquez. He hit the canvas like a sack of flour, and was out of it for a while. That sight scared people, and some Manny-iacs found themselves wondering if Pacquiao should, at age 34, hang up the gloves and concentrate on politics in the Philippines full-time.
But it appears Pacquiao doesn’t want to go out like that. He shrugged off public speculation by two doctors in his homeland, who theorized that his brain might already be irrevocably compromised, and according to his promoter, Bob Arum, is looking forward to getting back in the ring next year.
Arum told ESPNNewYork.com that Pacquiao is keen on returning in April, against a foe to be determined, but finding a good venue hasn't gone smoothly. And then there’s also the matter of April being election season in the Philippines. Pacquiao's brother and wife are running for posts, and the fighter doesn’t want to get involved in a training camp and fight instead of aiding his loved ones’ campaigns. Trainer Freddie Roach said he’d be happier having Pacquiao not take a tuneup before a fifth Marquez scrap. Thus, all have seemingly decided that a September date, likely against Marquez again, makes the most sense.
Arum talked more about Pacquiao's plans. “What those doctors did was totally irresponsible,” he said. “Obviously all of us are worried about Manny, and since his real career will be after he leaves the ring, in politics, I’ve suggested he be examined by the best doctors at the Cleveland Clinic -- probably do that by the end of May.”
Arum said he investigated booking the Venetian in Macau, but it was already booked, by a Korean pop star, so that also factored into September being the target return date. Roach said doctors told Pacquiao he didn't suffer a concussion versus Marquez, Pacquiao was alert and sharp -- playing chess right after the loss -- and has had a fine time traveling to Jerusalem and Hong Kong with his family. It seems like Roach is totally comfortable with Pacquiao fighting on -- and that says something, since Roach deals with Parkinson's disesase, and we feel strongly that if Roach saw any early signs of something similar in Pacquiao, he'd sound an alarm.
Readers, what say you? Should Pacquiao fight on, or exit the stage? Weigh in!