Boxer Manny Pacquiao is being tested for a concussion after he sustained repeated punches to the head during a boxing match on Saturday night against Juan Manuel Marquez.
"Manny has been feeling a little groggy and sore in the days since the fight," said Freddie Roach, his trainer. "We watched tape of the fight again and he definitely got punched in the head multiple times, including at the end when he briefly lost consciousness and dropped to the mat. Those can be concussion warning signs."
If Pacquiao, perhaps his sport's biggest and most marketable name, did sustain a concussion, boxing will become the latest sport to have concussion concerns, joining football and hockey.
"I could see there possibly being some concerns," said boxing analyst Larry Merchant. "Unlike football or hockey, our athletes don't even wear helmets. Also, if you think about it, unlike those other sports the whole point of boxing is to hit the other guy in the head as hard as possible until his brain can't send message to his legs to stay standing. I'm not a doctor, but maybe at least small concussions could enter into that equation somewhere."
If head trauma proves to be an issue in the sport, boxing's governing bodies will likely have to look into legislating head shots out of competition, similar to what has occurred in football and hockey.
Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank, says the sport will do anything to protect its fighters.
"It's okay if their brains are ruined enough that they're too dumb to know we're stealing from them, but not so ruined they can't function," he said. "But, again, let's just hope for the best here. Maybe concussions don't even occur in the sport of boxing."