The more we learn about Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder injury, the uglier it looks for all sides involved.
The shoulder injury Pacquiao suffered prior to his fight with Floyd Mayweather was much more serious than it initially sounded, and now it turns out that Pacquiao will need surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
While the immediate effect of the surgery is that it will sideline Pacquiao for up to a year and eliminate the already dim hopes for a rematch, the injury has caused a further mess as people try to figure out who knew about it, why it wasn’t reported, and why Pacquiao was denied treatment prior to the fight.
According to Dashon Johnson, one of Pacquiao’s sparring partners, the injury occurred a “few weeks” prior to the fight and that it was so significant the sparring partners were sent home because Pacquiao couldn’t fight with the injury. Johnson said that he was instructed to keep it a secret.
Despite supposedly being unable to fully train in the weeks before the fight, Pacquiao signed a pre-fight medical questionnaire “under penalty of perjury” at the weigh-in with a check mark “No” next to the question, “Have you had any injury to your shoulders, elbow, or hands that needed evaluation or examination?”
Here is that form via Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) told the AP that Pacquiao either “made a terrible mistake to not follow the rules or they were trying not to give information to the other side.”
If he was trying to keep the injury hidden from Mayweather, even that may have backfired as there is evidence that there was a “mole” in Pacquiao’s camp leaking information to Mayweather prior to the fight. If true, Mayweather almost certainly knew about the injury.
Further complicating matters, according to a statement released by Pacquiao’s promoter Top Rank, their side did notify USADA about the injury and got approval to for treatment that included possible injections of Toradol (a non-steroidal prescription medication) and lidocaine (designed to numb the area of the injury).
The approval for those treatments were received from USADA “at least five days before the fight.”
However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission told the L.A. Times they were not made aware of the treatment plan and blocked the injections on the night of the fight. Chairman Francisco Aguilar said there was no proof of injury and he was not comfortable allowing Pacquiao to fight with a numbed shoulder as that could make the injury worse.
A last-minute appeal that included confirmation of the treatment from the chairman of USADA was denied.
While Top Rank says the shoulder did improve leading up to the fight, he was not 100% on the night of the fight, and Pacquiao later told the L.A. Times that he re-injured the shoulder in the fourth round of the fight.
Aguilar also said that the Nevada state attorney general’s office will look into the matter and that Pacquiao could face disciplinary action, including fine or suspension, for not accurately answering the pre-fight questionnaire, according to an AP report.
Pacquiao’s camp did emphasise that their fighter is not making excuses for his performance. However, this mess does raise the question about whether the fight should have been postponed and whether the viewing and betting public were deceived in order to keep the richest bout of all time on schedule.
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