Pacquiao needs to rethink career: Nathanielsz

Posted at 01/04/2013 10:39 AM | Updated as of 01/04/2013 1:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao needs to seriously rethink his career following a recent report that he may be exhibiting early signs of Parkinson's disease, sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said Friday.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Nathanielsz said he cannot completely debunk neurologist Rustico Jimenez's observation that Pacquiao might be exhibiting early signs of Parkinson's despite failing to personally examine the boxer.

"You have to give these specialists credit. They can even see signs on television. One thing I noticed was - when Ricky Hatton got knocked out by Pacquiao, his legs twitched. That's a bad sign. When Fernando Montiel got knocked out by Nonito Donaire, his legs twitched. When Pacquiao got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, he was flat on his face but you did see a little twitching of the feet," he said.

Nathanielsz said Top Rank boss Bob Arum wanted Pacquiao to undergo an extensive power checkup at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health after his devastating knockout loss to Marquez.

The analyst said he had spoken to several neurosurgeons who said that being punched in the face is dangerous because "your brain hits the back of your skull."

"Manny has taken quite a few shots. We care for him so much. His mother, his wife have all asked him to retire. Maybe this is a time for him to really seriously consider this latest report coming from the neurologist and it's time  to hang up his gloves. Or maybe undergo a thorough checkup," he said.

Random drug tests

Meanwhile, one good thing that might have resulted in Pacquiao's recent loss is a renewed call for stricter drug testing.

Nathanielsz said that after Pacquiao's loss to Marquez, Top Rank boss Bob Arum insisted that both boxers undergo random drug tests. This, amid calls that a fifth fight be scheduled for the 2 boxers.

"[Arum] didn't say why but there have been a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation because Angel Heredia has been working with Marquez and many people say 'Look, he's all muscled up.' And he never dropped Pacquiao before," Nathanielsz said.

"He's had some solid shots before but he never dropped Pacquiao. And now he's dropped Pacquiao twice and the second one was a crushing blow. So maybe something was wrong somewhere," he added.

Marquez knocked down Pacquiao in the third round of their megafight last December 11 and finished him for good with a devastating right to the face at 2:59 of the sixth round.

Before the victory, Marquez had lost twice to Pacquiao and settled for a draw in their first fight.