After a brutal knockout at the hands of longtime foe Juan Manuel Marquez in December, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2) has been forced to look at the ramifications of the damage he's amassed over his extensive career.
Add in the fact that the president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, claims Pacquiao could be suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease (h/t ESPN UK), and it’s time for Pac-Man to call it quits.
Even Pacquiao’s own camp wants to have an examination done by brain specialists before a decision is made on the fighter’s future (h/t ESPN).
It doesn’t end there, though.
According to Miguel Rivera of BoxingScene.com, WBC president Jose Sulaiman has legitimate concerns for Pacquiao's health and the ramifications of a knockout like the one Pac-Man suffered:
The knockout he suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight in Las Vegas was dramatic. No one could withstand such a powerful punch, right on the button, and that is worrying. I pray that Pacquiao has no health problems, because he's been the biggest start of the past decade and the world of boxing owes so much to the Filipino. The World Boxing Council awarded him as the 'Best of the Decade.'
With two straight losses beginning to tarnish what was an amazing legacy, Pacquiao needs to do the right thing for his family and for his long-term health and hang up the gloves for good.
Walking away from boxing—and the money, fame and glory that come with it—is the one of the hardest things a fighter ever does during his career. But it’s not as hard as dealing with the damaged body and ruined reputation he faces if he stays in the sport too long.
Go down the list of great boxers (look at a legend like Muhammad Ali and his struggles with Parkinson’s disease) and discover just how many overstayed their welcome and paid dearly healthwise in the latter stages of their life.
No one wants that for Pacquiao.
There is undoubtedly plenty of interest in a fifth fight with Marquez or even the superfight with Floyd Mayweather, but the decision to stop fighting or to accept another bout must be based on Pacquiao’s health, not on how much money he can make off his next pay-per-view.
Boxing is a business, but at some point, Pac-Man and his camp must do what is best for the long-term health of Pacquiao the man, not the fighter.