Manny Pacquaio will need most everything to go in his favor on May 2 if he hopes to become the first boxer to defeat Floyd Mayweather. That has not been the case during the course of the 36-year-old’s training, as he continues to suffer leg cramps.
The ailment is nothing new for Pacquiao. He’s dealt with pain in his calves throughout his career, and his trainers have done what they can to correct the issue.
"There's no magic cure for it," trainer Freddie Roach told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. "We're doing what we can do. I've got the doctors working on it. There are some Filipino guys here who are massaging it for him. The cream cost $1,800 for a single bottle. I wasn't too happy about that."
Roach says Pacquiao has eliminated running uphill as part of his training. The boxer used to run up a concrete hill while training in Los Angeles for other fights.
The anti-inflammatory cream used by Pacquiao might be pricey, but the boxer is still in pain. On Saturday, fans gathered a few miles away from Pacquiao’s home, hoping to witness his morning run. But the champ was forced to skip his training session.
"I would like him to get up and move around at least, get out the stiffness from the work we have been doing," Justin Fortune, Pacquiao’s strength and condition coach, told USA Today Sports. "He is not going to run, but we will make up for it with the work we do later.
"I make it hard for him but he needs to suck it up. Fighting Mayweather is not easy, either. There are always consequences."
Pacquiao’s calf issues have been going on for years, and they haven't kept him from being one of the best fighters in the world. After defeating Juan Manuel Marquez in 2008, Roach told his boxer that something needed to be done. Following the bout, Pacquiao hired fitness trainer Alex Ariza. Pacquiao didn’t have cramping issues in his next six fights, but the problem reportedly recurred as he began training to take on Shane Mosley in 2011.
Battling through the pain, Pacquiao’s calf issues haven’t cost him any fights. He’s suffered just two defeats in the past decade, losing a bout to Timothy Bradley that likely should’ve been scored in his favor, and getting caught with a surprise punch by Marquez that knocked him out in their fourth ever meeting.
But Pacquiao could have a tough time defeating Mayweather if he’s dealing with too much pain. He’s already the decided underdog, and only a handful of boxers have even prevented Mayweather from being the winner on all three judges’ scorecards.
Pacquiao, himself, has been very quiet about the cramps. He’s never been one to use them as an excuse, and wouldn’t likely do so in his match with Maywweather.
Despite the issues that Pacquiao has faced, some have been encouraged by his training. Running partner Rodel Mayol told USA Today that the Filipino looks better than ever.
"I see he doesn't get tired, not like before he fought (Chris) Algieri, (Shane) Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez – then he took it easy," Mayol said. “This time he is very motivated."
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is set for May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. PacMan last fought on Nov. 22, knocking down Chris Algieri six times in a unanimous decision.