HOUSTON—Manny Pacquiao must really be blessed.
Not only did he survive a harrowing knockout loss without incurring physical disability, his brain, it seems, is also undamaged.
Promoter Bob Arum said the result of Pacquiao’s MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) done at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital Thursday surprised even the doctors who conducted the procedure.
“He had an MRI and the doctor who did it was surprised how clean his brain was,” Arum told Filipino sportswriters after the official weigh-in of Nonito Donaire-Jorge Arce showdown for the WBO super bantamweight crown at PlasAmericas Mall here. “He said it was pristine. Michael sent me a text message. Big doctor in the Philippines.”
Arum was ecstatic with the rapid recovery of his star fighter who got knocked out cold and was unconscious for more than a minute by a perfectly timed right unleashed by Marquez as Pacquiao was coming in in the sixth round of the Pacquiao-Marquez 4 showdown in Las Vegas last week.
“Manny, I understand, is in great spirits and next year he will be hopefully in the ring a lot better than this year was,” said Arum, who’s batting for a September return to the ring of Pacquiao.
The likely opponent is Marquez in the continuation of their ring rivalry that dates back to 2004, when the Mexican recovered from three first round knockdowns to forge a draw. In their 2004 rematch, Pacquiao won by split decision and prevailed again in the 2008 third edition by majority decision.
Then came Pacquiao-Marquez 4, which was proceeding the Filipino’s way, when Pacquiao, in his eagerness to satisfy the fans’ demand for an exciting fight, got careless and ran smack into Marquez’s right.
Given clearance by the University Medical Center in Las Vegas to fly back home after a CT scan and other basic tests, Pacquiao flew back to the Philippines Wednesday to attend the birthday of son Michael. He’ll turn 34 on Dec. 17 in General Santos in the Philippine island of Mindanao and then fly to Israel with his family to spend Christmas and the holidays.
For Arum, however, there’s no harm in subjecting Pacquiao to more tests.
“When he comes over here I’m having him re-tested here in the United States,” said Arum, who has committed to shoulder whatever the tests would cost at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas.
As for the Donaire-Arce showdown, Arum said it’s going to be a very exciting fight.
“Both guys are confident. I think this fight is going to be incredible.”