BILL DWYRE

Manny Pacquiao, after the near-perfect punch that laid him out

Marquez, of course, is in a great bargaining position and no deal has been reached. Plus, he is 39 years old, with 62 professional fights and 462 professional rounds.

Long-term future

Age and years of punishment are also a concern for Pacquiao. He is 34, and has had 61 professional fights and 371 professional rounds.

A popular theory in the immediate aftermath of this knockout was that this kind of out-cold damage would not allow Pacquiao to be the same quality fighter.

"He says he's fine, and I believe him," says Roach, who knows all too well the dangers of boxing too long. He did, and is now slowed by neurological damage.

"There are things I will be looking for in our next training camp," he says. "First, it is the footwork. I will be able to tell if he starts feeling for the canvas. I remember when I did. I'll look for any slight tremors. I remember watching Larry Holmes show a slight tremor when he was doing the mitts in training and I always thought that was a bad sign for his future. But so far, so good."

Roach says he will have Pacquiao spar considerably less and will also have a conversation with him about his reasons for continuing to fight. Pacquiao is a member of the Philippine congress, with a bright political future.

"If he says he needs to keep going to pay for the politics, I will tell him that's the wrong reason," Roach says. "If it is because he still wants to and loves it, that's the right reason."

And how closely will this boxing superstar listen to his longtime coach and mentor?

"Manny told me," Roach says, "that if I tell him it is time to stop, he will."

For the moment, it appears that, unlike that fateful night in December, Roach and Pacquiao are not yet ready to be down for the count.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

CHICAGO