Manny Pacquiao said he didn’t want to make excuses for losing to Floyd Mayweather in one of the biggest fights of all time, but the boxer couldn’t help but mention a nagging shoulder injury in the post-fight press conference. The losing fighter in Saturday’s welterweight unification bout hurt himself during training camp.
Pacquiao told reporters that his shoulder wasn’t 100 percent, and he even considered postponing the fight. According to trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao got hurt when he banged shoulders with a sparring partner three-to-four weeks before the fight.
A source told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports that the injury is so severe that it could require Pacquiao to get surgery, which could keep him out for up to nine months. Pacquiao is signed with Top Rank through 2016, and he’s expected to fight one more time before the end of the year.
It’s unknown how much the injury affected Pacquiao, but he might not have stood much of a chance, even if he was completely healthy. While the fight was competitive for the first half of the bout, Mayweather took control in rounds seven through 12. Pacquiao landed just 19 percent of his punches, and Mayweather landed 148 total punches to Pacquiao’s 81 blows.
"We felt the [rehabilitative] work that was done on the shoulder during training would give him the opportunity to use the right hand," promoter Bob Arum said after the fight. "We were disappointed when in the third round the injury kicked up again, but this is always the case in sport. ... He heals the injury, thinks he’s conquered it and it flares up again."
During training camp, Pacquiao took anti-inflammatory shots that were approved by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. But when he arrived to the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, he wasn’t allowed to take any shots.
The commission wouldn’t let Pacquiao take the drugs bupivacaine celestone and lidocaine because he didn’t make his injuries known on a medical form, according to Iole.
"I have no proof of the injury," Chairman Francisco Aguilar said, via Iole. "If he told us on Friday, we would have gotten the MRIs and there are a lot of things we could have done."
After the fight, Mayweather said that he’s been dealing with injuries of his own. The undefeated boxer referenced hand and shoulder injuries, which he fought through in his 48th career victory. He didn't reference the injury in the post-fight interview.
“I always find a way to win,” Mayweather said.
Pacquiao’s shoulder was a non-story in the buildup towards the fight, though a recurring calf injury did make headlines. After he suffered cramps during training camp, the injury didn’t seem to be an issue against Mayweather.