by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao is contemplating legal action against the neurologist who claimed the fighter had shown early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz responded to a query from BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard after neurologist and president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, claimed that he had noticed Pacquiao’s hand twitching and stuttering from watching him on television.
Dr. Jimenez conceded he could be wrong in his observations since he had not personally examined Pacquiao but went on to urge the national sports hero to follow the pleas of many others including his wife Jinkee and his mother Dionisia to hang up his gloves following his crushing sixth round knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez last December 8.
Koncz said “what is the name of this alleged well known doctor as we are contemplating a civil suit for merit-less and unfounded accusations.”
He said “tell me how can one make such allegations based on mere speculation as I am not aware that this alleged doctor ever examined Manny yet he makes such a diagnosis” adding “its amazing what people will do to get media coverage. Anyway I am done responding to this ludicrous diagnosis and we shall quietly enjoy our remaining time in Israel.”
However, a longtime friend and sometime confidant of Pacquiao, promoter and boxing manager Rex “Wakee” Salud, said the doctor “is entitled to his opinion because after all he is a neurologist who knows, even as others are also entitled to their opinion.” However, Salud maintained he personally “didn’t notice any signs of twitching or stammering.”
Salud, just like Dr. Jimenez, supported an earlier suggestion by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in an interview with the Standard after the crushing 6th round knockout by Marquez that Pacquiao should have a thorough brain evaluation at the world famous Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Center in Las Vegas.
Salud also said he supported the position that Pacquiao should retire because “he has achieved everything and nobody can equal what he has done.” He emphasized that “the people want him to retire are those who really care for him.”
Dr. Jimenez urged Pacquiao to undergo a battery of tests in the US just to make sure. He said there are several neurological centers in the US where he could undergo tests such as PET Scans and the like. The neurologist noted there are chemical tests that could be undertaken which are “very complicated and not available here” in the Philippines.
Both the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Filipino doctors have cleared Pacquiao following tests conducted after the Marquez fight but because of head traumas suffered over 17 years of boxing against such big and strong fighters as Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito and his three fights against Erik “El Terrible” Morales and two fights with Marco Antonio Barrera.
Dr. Jimenez stressed “we don’t want him wheelchair bound. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, once it hits it will continue and we don’t want that to happen to our source of national pride.”
His unsolicited advise from a doctor’s viewpoint is “it would be best if he retires because the more blows to the head he gets, the bigger the chance of getting the disease.”