by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Manny Pacquiao has returned from a vacation with his family in Israel but has no word on when his next fight will be although he had earlier indicated he would like to fight in April before a planned fifth showdown with Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez which Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said would most likely take place in September.
ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo told us that Pacquiao and his family who arrived at midnight on Tuesday said he is not sure when his next fight will be but could have two fights this year.
Well-known neurologist Dr. Rustico Jimenez had stirred a controversy when he said that based on what he had seen on television , Pacquiao was showing early signs of Parkinson’s disease although he admitted he hadn’t personally seen Pacquiao and his conclusions could be wrong.
While Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz has earlier disclosed that they were contemplating a civil suit against Dr. Jimenez and according to AKTV Sports planned to fly to the US to discuss the issue with Pacquiao’s lawyer David Marroso, Pacquiao himself said “It was only a comment. We all have the right to comment you know. God is just.”
However, he added, “sometimes people like to become popular and known. I’ll pray for them.”
Meantime, discussions continue over whether Pacquiao should quit boxing as suggested by his wife Jinkee and his mother Dionisia or continue to fight.
American trainer Rick Stahaley who trained Pacquiao when he won his first title – the WBC flyweight championship with a sensational 8th round knockout of Thailand’s Chatchai Sasakul came out strongly in support of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s suggestion that Pacquiao undergo a brain evaluation at the renowned Lou Ruvo brain center at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas in an interview with the Standard a day after Pacquiao suffered a crushing 6th round knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez.
Stahaley said “I agree one hundred percent. I think Bob’s got the right idea where you take him to the Cleveland Clinic and get him tested. You can’t go wrong by doing it. Money is not an issue so he might as well get it done. ”
The trainer also said “with an older fighter like Manny (he is 33) you might want to cut down on sparring a little bit. I know Manny likes to spar but when you go out there and do hard sparring like Manny has done for years and years, it will take its toll. Maybe they should modify his training a little bit. Let him still train hard but not go and spar 130 rounds for a twelve round fight.”
Reacting to reports that Pacquiao wanted to get back into the ring in April, Stahaely said “let him go ahead and see medically first, because if they don’t find anything it will be hard to keep him out of the ring. If he wants to fight again let him. I don’t see any difference in the way he talks unlike some people when you can definitely tell. When former champion Terry Norris got banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission because in an interview you could see that his speech was definitely different from some five years before.”
Pacquiao disclosed that they went all around Israel and that they “super enjoyed and soaked in God’s word” according to Castillejo.