Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in a unanimous decision in the biggest boxing match in decades on Saturday night.
Afterward, Pacquiao said he fought with an injured shoulder, and later added that he thought someone leaked information about the injury to Mayweather’s camp so that Mayweather could attack it during the fight.
According to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Pacquiao suffered a tear in a joint under his rotator cuff while sparring during training. Pugmire reports that Pacquiao could have received a numbing injection for it before the fight, but a paperwork snafu involving his promoter, Top Rank, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) prevented it.
According to Pugmire, Pacquiao received a cortisone shot to help the injury during training, and an orthopedist told his camp that the USADA would approve the treatment before the fight. However, the USADA never told the NSAC about the approved treatment, Pugmire reports, and when Pacquiao’s camp requested the shot before the fight, the NSAC denied it because the injury wasn’t reported to them beforehand.
NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar told Pugmire, “If the injury was disclosed at the weigh-in, we could’ve had a conversation and handled it differently. When you come at 6:30 with the fight at 8, that’s a different conversation.”
According to Greg Logan of Newsday, Aguilar also said that a questionnaire given to Pacquiao and Mayweather before the fight asked about preexisting injuries, and Pacquiao said he had none:
“On that questionnaire, one question is: ‘Do you have an injury in your shoulder?’ He checked ‘No.’ Had he checked ‘Yes,’ our doctors could have followed up with additional questions. He could have shared the MRI with those doctors, and we could have figured out an opportunity for him to have the medication he claimed he needs.”
Aguilar told David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press that the injection could have been approved if Pacquiao’s camp had told the NSAC about it earlier:
“These are not prohibited substances. But why they might be, on fight night, by the commission, is you want the fighter to enter the ring in a natural state. Had we known prior to (the fight), we would have sent any (exam results) over to the doctors to review and come up with a treatment plan for Mr. Pacquiao that is acceptable to commission doctors.”
Pacquiao never tried to delay the fight in the days and weeks before because he thought he could get the injection on fight night, Pugmire reports.
“It felt like a needle was being stuck into my shoulder. I backed off because of the pain. It’s very important to have confidence in your right and left, and when you’re hurt, you’re thinking about that, too.”
When Mayweather was asked about Pacquiao’s injury after the fight, he said, “I had injuries also going into this fight… Both of my arms was injured, both of my hands was injured, but like I said before, I will always find a way to win.”
The chances of a healthier rematch are slim, however. Mayweather said he only plans to fight one more time before retiring. His manager and father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., said a rematch wouldn’t be necessary because the results would be the same.
Many people feel the fight happened several years too late, with both boxers already on the decline. Pacquiao’s injury now raises questions of how he would have faired in the fight had he at least been healthy.
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