Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder apparently is as bad as advertised—he’ll undergo surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff and could be out a full year. But his bigger problem might be that the injury wasn’t advertised, first being disclosed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission only two-and-a-half hours before the fight.
In their post-fight press conferences, Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach, and promoter Bob Arum all said that the southpaw had fought with a rotator-cuff tear suffered in training a few weeks ago. It’s hard to believe the tear in his right, lead shoulder wasn’t significantly bothering him—he had sought a painkiller shot just ahead of the bout but was turned down by the NSAC because they hadn’t previously been told about the injury.
True Boxing has obtained Pacquiao’s pre-fight medical questionnaire, filled out the day before the fight, and sure enough, there is no mention of the injury. One question asked if Pacquiao “had any injury to your shoulders, elbows, or hands,” to which the fighter—or someone in his camp—checked “no.”
Note that under medications taken in the last month, Pacquiao lists Lidocaine (painkiller, Bupivacaine (painkiller), Celestone (anti-inflammatory steroid), platelet-rich plasma, and Toradol (painkiller). Our boxers are as doped-up as our racehorses.
The shot Pacquiao was seeking hours before the fight has been reported as another injection of Toradol, numbing agent of choice for the NFL over the last few decades.
Boxers are legally required to disclose their injures, under threat of perjury. And it’s not hard to see why, even setting aside the fighters’ health—with tens of millions of dollars wagered on this match, bettors and bookies deserved to know if one of the fighters was coming in with a bum shoulder. (Hiding this injury ultimately benefited those betting Mayweather, who received slightly longer odds than he would have had news of Pacquiao’s torn rotator cuff been disclosed. So if you wanted to formulate a conspiracy theory, I’d start there. But it was also in Pacquiao’s best interests to hide the injury, let the fight go on instead of postponing it for a year, and get his payday.)
Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar has asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate.
“This isn’t our first fight,” Aguilar said. “This is our business. There is a process, and when you try to screw with the process, it’s not going to work for you.”