The Mayweather–Pacquiao fight came in like a lion on Saturday night, but despite the billing, the action in the ring didn’t exactly scintillate. There are a number of potential explanations for the lack of style points—from age to boxing styles—but Manny Pacquiao offered up another reason post-match: The 36-year-old was fighting hurt.
Pacquiao’s camp revealed after Mayweather’s victory that he sustained a torn rotator cuff in the lead-up to the fight and was denied an anti-inflammatory shot by Nevada boxing officials just hours before the bout. “Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach and promoter Bob Arum were vague on the details of the injury but confirmed they considered postponing the bout a few weeks ago,” ESPN reports. “Arum said Pacquiao's camp thought he would be allowed to have an anti-inflammatory shot because he had similar treatment during training. The shots also had been approved by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. But Arum said Top Rank filed incorrect paperwork about the injury, and the Nevada commission ruled against the request for a shot.”
“It's part of the game,” Pacquiao said of the injury. “I don't want to make alibis or complain or anything ... [but] it’s hard to fight one-handed.” When asked why the fight wasn’t delayed due to Pacquiao’s shoulder, promoter Bob Arum responded: “Athletes always fight hurt … We felt that the work that was done on the shoulder would give him the opportunity to use the right hand. We were disappointed when in the third round, the injury kicked up again.”
The injury, along with the mysteriously misfiled paperwork, will certainly continue the debate over whether the Mayweather–Pacquiao rivalry is, in fact, settled. It might also pique interest in a rematch of last night’s bout, from which Mayweather is expected to take home $180 million, and Pacquiao $120 million.