Manny Pacquiao right shoulder tear will require surgery and 9-12 months of rehabilitation, his surgeon confirmed last Monday night.
Pacquiao’s orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache verified to ESPN that injury is a torn rotator cuff.
“We have an MRI scan that confirms he has a rotator cuff tear. He has a significant tear,” said ElAttrache.
Pacquiao suffered the injury three weeks ago in training camp. Earlier this evening, Pacquiao and promoter Top Rank released a statement on the circumstances of the injury and the Nevada Athletic Commission’s veto of Pacquiao’s request for a fight night anti-inflammatory shot:
During training, Manny Pacquiao suffered a right shoulder 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.
Manny’s advisors notified the United States Anti-Doping Agency (“USADA”) of the shoulder injury and the treatments being proposed by the doctors during training and on fight night. USADA spoke to Manny’s doctors twice, investigated, and confirmed in writing that the proposed treatments, if used, were completely allowed. The medication approved for fight night was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Toradol).
Manny continued to train and his shoulder improved, though not 100%. This is boxing, injuries happen, and Manny is a warrior. Again, in consultation with his doctors, promoter and advisors, Manny decided to proceed with the fight anticipating that he could receive his pre-fight treatment. That specific treatment had been approved by USADA in writing at least 5 days before the fight.
On his pre-fight medical form filled out earlier in the week, Manny’s advisors listed the medications that Manny used in training and the medications that might be used on fight night. A few hours before he was expected to step in the ring, when Manny’s doctors began the process, the Nevada Commission stopped the treatment because it said it was unaware of Manny’s shoulder injury.
This was disappointing to Team Pacquiao since they had disclosed the injury and treatment to USADA, USADA approved the treatments, and Manny had listed the medication on his pre-fight medical form.
Also, USADA had provided a copy of its contract with the fighters to the Commission. An hour before the fight, Manny’s advisors asked the Commission to reconsider and the director of USADA advised the Commission that USADA had approved the fight-night treatment, but the Commission denied the request.
With the advice of his doctors, Manny still decided to proceed with the fight. His shoulder wasn’t perfect but it had improved in training camp.
However, as Manny has said multiple times, he makes no excuses. Manny gave it his best.
Pacquiao was only able to land a career-low 81 punches against Mayweather over 12 rounds. While most credit Mayweather’s defense, Dr. ElAttrache argued that Pacquiao’s low punch output was directly tied to constant pain.
“[Pacquiao] modulated his approach. He moderated what he did with his right hand,” ElAttrache told ESPN. “His punch count was less than it has been. He did alter the way he fought to get through the fight with the injury. He is in pain.”
Should Manny have postponed the fight? Yes, in theory. Past superfights like Ali-Foreman and Tyson-Holyfield II come to mind as fights that were postponed due to cuts sustained in sparring. The difference with Mayweather-Pacquiao is that there was too much money tied up in Las Vegas and between the cable networks for this bout to be delayed any further.
A healthy Manny would have given a better fight. But I still remain unconvinced that he could have won it. The main nemesis in that bout was Mayweather’s movement, not Pacquiao’s shoulder. The few times Mayweather did stay still, Pacquiao got off his combinations.
Here’s the ultimate rhetorical question. If this situation was reversed, would Mayweather get any sympathy?