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Arum concerned his former star Pacquiao is risking brain damage by fighting into his 40s

The Hall of Fame promoter doesn’t wish to see Pac-Man fight on for much longer.

Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory over Adrien Broner.
Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory over Adrien Broner.
Image: Gene Blevins

HALL OF FAME promoter Bob Arum has admitted he is concerned Manny Pacquaio is risking brain damage by fighting into his 40s.

Pacquiao parted company with Arum’s promotional outfit, Top Rank, last year, bringing to an end a longstanding partnership which saw Pacquiao himself carve a Hall-of-Fame-bound career in the States.

The Filipino fighting icon has enjoyed an Indian summer since, however, earning impressive victories over Lucas Mathysse (TKO7) and Adrien Broner (UD12) despite his significant ring mileage at 40.

Pac-Man [61-7-2, 39KOs] challenges highly touted and unbeaten American puncher Keith Thurman [29-0, 22KOs] for the WBA World welterweight title at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand on 20 July, and speaking to Fight Hub TV, his former promoter has cautioned against him fighting on for much longer in a sport as physically taxing as boxing.

“Look, I love Manny Pacquiao,” said Arum. “I have a whole history with Manny Pacquiao… I’m really rooting for Manny Pacquiao, but you’ve gotta realise that he’s 41 [40] years of age, and when a fighter [who] has been around so long passes his late 30s and goes into his 40s, he’s not gonna be as good as he was in his prime.

So I wish him the best and I hope he wins the fight but I am concerned — as I would be for any fighter — that when they get to a certain age that they probably should be fighting anymore. You know, I mean, the doctors will tell you that the cranium, as you get older, thins out. So a guy that’s younger gets hit and the cranium absorbs the blow so that it doesn’t affect the brain matter. When they get older the cranium is thinner, and when you get hit it affects — that would be the worst thing in the world if Manny Pacquiao suffered brain damage at this point.

“Zab Judah, you know, he had bad habits but he was a terrific fighter. His fight with Mayweather was a really good fight, and Zab Judah is a perfect example of how dangerous it is for a guy to continue fighting into his 40s,” Arum added, referring to ‘Super’ Zab’s hospitalisation following a stoppage defeat to Cletus Seldin aged 41 last Friday.

Go past Zab Judah and look at Adonis Stevenson: 42 years old, you know, he performed pretty good in the fight and in the last round took a beating from Gvozdyk and the referee did a good job, you know. He went through 11 rounds, I think he was winning the fight or it was an even fight, and then [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk got to him and knocked him out before the referee could stop the fight. And the poor guy has spent what, six, seven months in the hospital and even though thank God he’s recovered a little bit, he’ll never be the same again.

“You got to really pay attention to that, you know? And then they say. ‘Well, what about George Foreman? He came back and won the title in his mid-40s’. But maybe Foreman is the exception that proves the rule.”

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