MANILA, Philippines - The path is clear for Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring in April.
“That’s what he wants,” the boxer’s legal adviser, Franklin Gacal, told The STAR yesterday when asked about Pacquiao’s next move.
Pacquiao is fresh from a family vacation in the Holy Land. He insists he’s fine and in shape despite what looked like a traumatic loss to Juan Manuel Marquez over a month ago.
Pacquiao has the medical records to back his claim that everything is fine, and they don’t include an unsolicited advice from a Filipino doctor who just pushed the panic button.
His personal physician said Pacquiao isn’t showing signs of Parkinson’s contrary to what the expert neurologist said during a recent radio interview.
Pacquiao had undergone and passed a series of tests in Las Vegas and in Manila following his stunning knockout loss to Marquez.
Believe it or not, he’s in the pink of health.
Results of his MRI tests at the Cardinal Santos Hospital in San Juan showed that Pacquiao’s brain is in “pristine condition.” And a CT scan at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, a level-1 trauma center, showed that he’s fine.
Yesterday, American publicist Fred Sternburg also forwarded the Filipino press a copy of Pacquiao’s fight report from the Nevada Athletic Commission.
It was meant to clear the air regarding Pacquiao’s mandatory suspension following the scary knockout he suffered at the MGM Grand on that cold December evening.
It was earlier reported that as a result of the knockout, Pacquiao has been suspended for 120 days and is supposed to have no contact for 90 days.
It turns out that the suspension only runs until March 9, 2013 (90 days after the fight), and the no contact order should run only until Feb. 7, 2013 (60 days after).
“Hope this clears things up,” the e-mail message from Sternburg said.
Pacquiao, therefore, can fight as soon as he wants, and even before the last Marquez bout his promoter, Bob Arum, had already mentioned April 20 as the date for his next fight.
Pacquiao can fight anyone he wants – but not Marquez – and anywhere he wants – but not the Antarctica.
Pacquiao can choose from among Timothy Bradley, Brandon Rios or Robert Guerrero as his opponent in April. A report also said they’re looking at a venue outside the United States.
“Let’s skip Marquez first,” said Gacal over the phone.
“April is too early for that. We will get there. Manny needs to fight someone else to rebuild his confidence,” said the lawyer.
If things fall into place, they can do Marquez in September.
“First, he wants to fight in April,” said Gacal.
The show must go on.