Ever since Manny Pacquiao revealed that he fought Floyd Mayweather with a torn rotator cuff in his post-fight press conference, he has been criticised for his handling of the injury.
On HBO’s boxing broadcast last Saturday, analyst Max Kellerman laid out an eloquent case for why this theory is wrong and Pacquiao doesn’t actually deserve the blame.
Kellerman argued that Pacquiao had no good options, and that postponing the fight for a year to get shoulder surgery would have given him an even worse chance to win:
“I think some people have the sense that Manny Pacquiao sold out for the money. And by fighting with a torn rotator cuff, not giving himself the best chance to win, he somehow perpetuated a fraud on the public. I strongly disagree with this. A dilemma is not a tough choice; a dilemma is a choice between two bad options. What was Manny Pacquiao supposed to do three weeks to go before the fight when he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that needed surgery? Was he supposed to postpone the fight? So 12 months off — he was already off for five months — he was supposed to come back after shoulder surgery and a 17-plus-month ring absence to fight and try to beat Floyd Mayweather? Does that give him his best chance to win?”
He says Pacquiao “manned up” by fighting hurt, and that postponing it ran the risk of the fight never happening:
“When all the tickets have already been sold, the hotel rooms have been booked, the airfare, etc., the eyes of the boxing world hoping to see this fight and this event. What did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned up. He said, ‘If I can get a shot a toradol in my shoulder, I can go through with this fight. I think that gives me the best chance to win.’
“By the way if he postpones, there may never be a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Who knows if Mayweather is even still active 12 months-plus into the future.”
Finally, he said it’s not Pacquiao’s fault that he couldn’t get a numbing injection in his shoulder before the fight:
“So Pacquiao’s camp clears it with USADA, the drug-testing body that Mayweather’s side insisted upon. USADA says, ‘Fine, a shot of toradol is fine.’ And then ultimately at the 11th hour the Nevada State Athletic Commission says Pacquiao can’t get the shot at toradol because of essentially a clerical error, because some box wasn’t checked off, a form wasn’t filled right. If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best, if that’s the belief, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in my view. Because just when the boxing world most needed them to show sound judgement, they decided to stand on principle instead of cooperate with the spirit of the event.”
It’s not like Pacquiao’s shoulder would have been any better if he delayed the fight for a few weeks. It was either fight now and use a shot to ease the pain, or put the fight off for a year — when he might be in even worse physical shape and there’s no guarantee Mayweather is even still fighting.
Here’s the full video:
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