Following his defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao revealed that he fought with a bum right shoulder.
Turns out it’s more serious than expected.
On Monday night, Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache told ESPN that Pacquiao has a “significant tear” that requires surgery and will be out nine to 12 months.
The injury, Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach said Saturday, affected the ability to throw his patented right hook. Roach said he even considered postponing the bout after learning of the injury approximately 2 1/2 weeks prior to fight night.
In a joint statement released earlier Monday, Pacquiao and Top Rank elaborated on the injury:
“Manny went to see world-class doctors, partners in the prestigious Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, who performed tests and, in consultation with Manny, his promoter, and his advisors, concluded that with short rest, treatments, and close monitoring, Manny could train and, on May 2, step into the ring against Floyd Mayweather.”
After consulting with doctors, Pacquiao’s team decided on Toradol, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, as pre-fight treatment. Pacquiao’s advisors then contacted the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the group responsible for overseeing agreed upon random drug testing. After speaking with Pacquiao’s doctors twice and investigating, USADA approved the proposed treatment (for training and fight night) in writing.
“Manny continued to train and his shoulder improved, though not 100 percent. … in consultation with his doctors, promoter and advisors, Manny decided to proceed with the fight anticipating that he could receive his pre-fight treatment.”
However, USADA doesn’t oversee the regulation of fights and is not a governing body. The group simply approved the treatment for the purposes of drug testing.
When the Nevada State Athletic Commission administered the pre-fight examination Friday afternoon, they gave Pacquiao a questionnaire. Question No. 6 asked if he had “any injuries to your shoulders, elbows or hands that require examination,” and the fighter checked “no,” the commission’s executive director Bob Bennett told USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
In fact, Bennett says the commission wasn’t aware of any injury until Pacquiao’s team asked for the Toradol injection (as well as Lidocaine, a numbing agent) at approximately 6:08 p.m. PT on fight night.
According to Bennett, Top Rank then alleged that USADA had provided documentation that informed the commission of the shoulder injury, but he says they never received such information. Bennett says he contacted USADA sport testing and resources director Andy Morrison to ask if any emails were sent regarding the injury, and Morrison said he hadn’t.
The commission then interviewed Pacquiao’s physicians who advised that his health and safety would not be at risk if he fought without the injection. Manny then assured the commission that his shoulder “felt fine and strong, and it was not bothering him and that he was ready to fight,” per Bennett.
Pacquiao was also interviewed by the commission’s physicians at the Friday weigh-in and informed them of no problems with his shoulders. According to the record, his “strength appeared equal in both arms and he had full range of motion in his shoulders.” That information in addition to his denial of a shoulder injury on the questionnaire led the commission to disallow the injections.
Top Rank maintains that “USADA had provided a copy of its contract with the fighters to the commission.” Could the commission have just allowed him to take the injection once they found out Saturday night and taken Pacquiao at his word without any MRI results?
“If we had information when Top Rank knew about Manny’s shoulder injury, and they brought that to our attention, then we obviously would have worked something out. But the drugs that Manny wanted to inject himself with were not PEDs. They’re not on the WADA panel. There’s no TUE (therapeutic use exemption) required. So it’s not an issue, in all fairness, to USADA. For whatever reason Top Rank, at that point in time, didn’t think it behooved them to notify us of Manny’s injury.