By Keith Idec
When and where haven't been finalized, but Bob Arum is certain Manny Pacquiao can come back and be the same ferocious fighter he was before Juan Manuel Marquez knocked the Filipino superstar unconscious.
"I've seen fighters recover from that and it not affect them at all," said Arum, Pacquiao's promoter. "Because remember, he didn't get beat up. He didn't get beat into submission and then get knocked out. It was one punch and he was through, so he didn't take punishment."
Arum still has urged Pacquiao to have his brain examined at the Cleveland Clinic, just to get yet another opinion. Though confident Pacquiao, 34, can continue winning at boxing's elite level, Arum wants to exhaust every medical alternative before the boxer/Philippines congressman/entertainer returns to the ring.
"All I can do is suggest it, because he has passed his [post-fight] test in Nevada and he passed his test in the Philippines," Arum said. "I would like him to get the test that is probably the best test in the world. What else can I do? Hopefully he'll do that. Now, if the fight doesn't happen until September, chances are I can drag him over here [to the United States] and get it done."
Arum also has urged Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) to forget fighting another opponent in April, prior to a highly anticipated, lucrative fifth fight against Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs). Marquez went 0-2-1 in three extremely competitive, 12-round bouts against Pacquiao prior to knocking him out in the sixth round Dec. 8 in Las Vegas. Pacquiao reportedly is interested in boxing a less formidable foe than Marquez, presumably to regain his confidence, with Marquez also fighting another opponent as part of a doubleheader.
That, of course, presents potential impediments to making Marquez-Pacquiao V for sometime in September, much the way Pacquiao-Marquez IV eliminated Mayweather-Pacquiao from happening. Heading straight into another Marquez match in September also would provide Pacquiao, who's up for re-election in May, with more time to rest while tackling an increasingly loaded schedule away from boxing.
"I would prefer neither of them take an interim fight," Arum said. "Because wherever I go, people used to ask me, 'When is Pacquiao going to fight Mayweather?' And now wherever I go, they say, 'When is the [fifth fight] going to happen?' "
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.