Pro boxing idol Manny Pacquiao listened to only one voice—his own.
And, despite the prayers and pleadings from his physicians and millions of supporters, including his family, that he retires from the sport, their collective pleas still fell on deaf ears.
Pacquiao, the prefight heavy favorite, lost to Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez by a potentially lethal knockout punch in the sixth round last Dec. 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It’s hard to describe the feelings of grieving Filipino fight fans who watched the stunning setback of their ring hero.
“The Pacman needs no less than six months before he could be declared fit and ready to fight,” said longtime coach and trainer Freddie Roach.
Dr. Racquel Fortun, a brain injury specialist from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, stressed that although early findings found Pacquiao free from brain damage, she is worried that it’s too early to say.
Neurologists at the UP-PGH shared Fortun’s opinion.
“My son (Manny) should quit boxing,” said the fighter’s mother, Dionesia.
Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee and their three children also wanted Pacman to hang up his gloves.
“Pacquiao should not fight Marquez for the fifth time. He is already awash with cash. It’s time to rest and take it easy,” said a devoted reader.
“The Pacman should devote more time to his work in Congress. After all, he can best serve the country as a lawmaker from Sarangani,” said reader Arim.
“I’m not in favor of a Marquez-Pacquiao 5. Pacman is already considered a national treasure. If he fights again and loses, we would be the laughing stock of the whole world,” commented another.
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SPORTS TRIVIA—According to brain specialist James Tyler, director general of the British Safety Council: “The brain is like a blancmange, a gelatin-like rubbery pudding. Every time a blow (to the head) is struck, the brain cracks against the inside of the hard skull, and it has the effect of numbing the brain or causing permanent brain damage.” Boxers don’t have to die to underscore the violence and cruelty of the sporta. One only has to look at the list of those who have been maimed for life or reduced to stuttering derelicts like the legendary heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, a victim of Parkinson’s syndrome. “I was struck that this man (Ali), who previously was known for his glibness, was almost unintelligible,” once said Dr. Nelson Richards, president of the America Academy of Neurology.