HOUSTON – It will take time before Manny Pacquiao gets back into the ring.
Like trainer Freddie Roach, Top Rank Promotions big boss Bob Arum said the Filipino boxing superstar's plan to fight again as early as April is simply not possible especially in light of his plan to have Pacquiao undergo extensive brain examination in a Las Vegas clinic early next year.
“I don’t think so,” was Arum's curt reply when asked about the intention of the 33-year-old boxing great to return to action four months after suffering a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico.
The knockout was a devastating one even for a fighter of Pacquiao’s status. Under the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) rule, he won’t be allowed to fight for the next four months (120 days), including three months (90 days) without contact.
“It’s too soon. So I don’t want to rush,” said Arum, who is here for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-bantamweight title fight between Filipino Nonito Donaire Jr. and Mexican Jorge Arce.
Besides, the 81-year-old promoter plans to bring Pacquiao to a Cleveland brain center in Las Vegas for an extensive examination in the aftermath of his loss at the MGM Grand.
Arum said the bill is on him as he has friends connected with the clinic, where his wife also happens to be a member of the board of directors.
“It will be on me. Whatever it will be, it won’t be astronomical,” Arum said.
Hopefully, Arums wants to have the exam done by the first week of January. By that time, Pacquiao and his family would have returned from their pilgrimage to Israel where they will spend the holiday season. The first family of boxing plans to return to the Philippines on January 1.
At the earliest, according to the Top Rank promoter, September is the viable date for Pacquiao to fight again – possibly a fifth against the 39-year-old Marquez.
“The way I look at it, I don’t see doing it before September because with the election in May you can’t do a June fight,” Arum noted, well aware the boxing icon is running for re-election unopposed as congressman of Sarangani.
“I don’t want to do a summer fight, and so September is the best possible day,” he added. “And because Marquez is Mexican, we can do it on Mexican Independence weekend (mid-September).”