Manny Pacquiao wasn’t the aggressor we’ve become familiar with on Saturday night (May 2), when he lost a unanimous decision against Floyd Mayweather.
After the fight, the Filipino boxer revealed that he had a right shoulder injury that prevented him from fighting at his best. Furthermore, his camp says Nevada officials denied his request to take an anti-inflammatory shot in his dressing room before the fight.
However, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission said the ruling was Pacquiao’s fault, for not mentioning his injury sooner.
“It’s part of the game,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t want to make alibis or complain or anything … [but] it’s hard to fight one-handed.”
Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach and promoter Bob Arum all considered postponing the fight a few weeks. Arum said Manny got hurt in mid-March, and the injury was “the same as the one Kobe Bryant had.”
“I thought he fought a courageous fight under all the circumstances, and I’m very proud of what he accomplished tonight,” Arum said.
If you don’t follow basketball, Bryant tore his rotator cuff in January, ending his season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Arum didn’t make it clear whether that was the injury he was referencing but said Pacquiao consulted the same doctor who treated Bryant.
Arum said Pacquiao’s camp thought he would be allowed to have an anti-inflammatory shot because he had similar treatment during training, which were approved by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. However, Top Rank filed incorrect paperwork about the injury, and the Nevada commission ruled against the request for a shot on fight night.
“Athletes always fight hurt,” Arum said. “We felt that the work that was done on the shoulder during training would give him the opportunity to use the right hand. We were disappointed when in the third round the injury kicked up again, but this is always the case with sports. You get guys injured in training. He then deals with the injury, he thinks he’s conquered it, and then he gets reinjured in the game. It happens in football. It happens in any sport.”
The injury could explain why Pacquiao’s punch output was drastically lower than his usual efforts, and his inability to use his right hand consistently made it easier for Mayweather to control the fight.
Mayweather concurred, during the post-fight press conference, saying he too has fought with injuries to both of his arms and hands.
“If [Pacquiao] would have come out victorious, the only thing I could have got up here and said was, ‘I have to show respect and say he was the better man,'” Mayweather said in his postfight news conference. “Both my arms were injured. Both my hands were injured, but as I’ve said before, I always find a way to win.”
The postfight disclosure of Pacquiao’s injury could be a legitimate angle to discuss a rematch.