As the final bell rung at the MGM Grand on May 2 in what saw him being tactically dominated by Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao knew there was a secret he had. Something that the vast number of people in the arena and throughout the world were unaware of & only known to his team. The secret was that he came into as damaged goods.
In the post fight interview and press conference Pacquaio’s team revealed that he suffered a right shoulder injury and was denied an injection to treat it just hours before the fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
News of the injury evolves throughout the weekend. On Sunday Dashon Johnson, a mixed martial arts fighter brought in as a sparring partner for Pacquiao, detailed in a Facebook post how long the injury was an issue and how it affected the training camp including having sparring partners be sent home weeks earlier than normal.
Then on Monday the other shoe dropped as Pacquiao’s camp released a statement that he has a significant tear in the right rotator cuff requiring surgery.
The surgery would technically put Pacquiao in the shelf for up to a year. The question is whether that shelving will become permanent.
When news of the injury first came it was perceived as an unusual display of excuse making by Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum after being soundly defeated by Mayweather. As more details have come to light, given the bitter taste the fight left in many people’s mouths, one question kept being asked.
With how important this fight was being presented as to the public and how much money was being asked to watch it, couldn’t it have been delayed to guarantee that both fighters would be in top health?
The logical answer to the question should be yes, but in the world of boxing logic can be easily ignored if it affects the bottom line. The fact is the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight promotion got so big it took a life of its own and almost nothing could stop from making its deadline on Saturday.
This was evident in the fact that according to Steve Kim of the Undisputed Champion Network the only member of Pacquiao’s team advocating to pull him out of the fight was his trainer Freddie Roach.
That means Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz along with Arum knowingly valued the pile of money that the fight was generating more than the health of the man who was risking more damage to his body to earn that money.
This was done at the expense of the record number of Pay-Per-View buyers of the fight and adds credence to the feeling that they were fleeced by forces just looking for one last huge cash out. That feeling on Tuesday culminated on a class action lawsuit filed against Pacquiao, Arum, and Koncz in federal court by in Las Vegas by two fans alleging the public was defrauded.
The NSAC also has referred the issue to the state’s attorney general as Koncz failed to disclose the injury in a medical questionnaire during the weigh-in for the fight, which could lead to perjury charges.
With the fight over and the damage done both in body and in some eyes reputation to Pacquiao the future for him is cloudy at best. The estimated year-long layoff following the surgery is the second time in three years he’ll be out of the ring for that long. The first time also followed a loss, a stunning knockout at the hands of long time nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
Looking back at his career there is almost nothing left for Pacquaio to prove in boxing. He’s the sport’s only eight-division champion, a feat that will likely never be replicated. He’s fought future Hall of Famers in Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, and now Mayweather and beat all but one of them.
He’s become the most popular athlete in his native Philippines even as basketball remains the top sport in the country. There is little incentive for Pacquiao to come back to the ring.
Then there is his health. One of the reasons Pacquiao is so popular in the sport has been his willing to engage in ring wars. The toll for those fights may have finally caught up to him and to go back to that routine another year older may just be too much.
Once again, logic would dictate that Pacquiao should walk into the sunset and continue his projected political journey to the Philippine presidency.
Also though, Pacquiao’s need to please his large fan base can cause logic to be thrown out the window again.
Should Pacquiao return to the ring his list of acceptable opponents is slim considering his steep drop in PPV sales. A fifth fight against Marquez has been attempted before with the latter refusing it. That could change with the right money. Fights with other top welterweights like Amir Khan and Keith Thurman are long shots given their allegiance to Al Haymon.
Roach has spoken of taking Pacquiao down in weight to 140 lbs. and that opens a fitting avenue. Much like his fight with De La Hoya became a passing of the torch as the main fighter in Arum’s Top Rank stable, a fight with World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion Terrence Crawford could serve the same purpose. It could be a great swan song for Pacquiao regardless of him winning or not.
Whether he chooses retirement or to fight on Pacquiao’s legacy in the ring is secure. The only lingering question in his career answered on Saturday.
Whether that will be enough is up to him.