By Chris Williams: Last Saturday, HBO commentator Max Kellerman sounded off on his view of Manny Pacquiao’s revelation of him fighting with a preexisting shoulder injury for his May 2nd mega-clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Kellerman acknowledges that a lot of boxing fans believe that Pacquiao sold out by choosing to take the $100 million+ payday for the fight by choosing to go through with the event despite a bad shoulder injury that he sustained last April, Kellerman thinks that Pacquiao did an admirable thing by going through with it.
Kellerman thinks that Pacquiao did the right thing by fighting with an injury because of the many fans who had purchased tickets and spent lots of money on travel accommodations. Kellerman figures that if Pacquiao had postponed the fight with Mayweather then the fight might not have taken place for an entire year if then. He feels that it was better for Pacquiao to fight with an injury rather than not all.
“I think that some people have the sense that Manny Pacquiao sold put for money, and by fighting with a torn rotator cuff, and not giving himself the best chance to win, he somehow perpetrated a fraud on the public,” Kellerman said to HBO. “I strongly disagree with this. A dilemma is a choice between two bad options. What was Manny supposed to do three weeks to go before the fight when he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and needed surgery? Was he supposed to have postponed the fight? So 12 months off, he was already off for 5 months, he’s supposed to come back from shoulder surgery and a 17 month ring absence to fight and try and beat Floyd Mayweather. Does that give him his best chance to win, when all the tickets have been sold, the hotel rooms have been booked, the airfare…etc. The eye of the boxing world, hoping to see this fight and the event, what did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned up. ‘If I can get a shot of Toradol in my shoulder, I can go through this fight. I think that gives me the best chance to win.’”
I personally don’t think it was at all good for Pacquiao and his team not to contact the Nevada Commission once the injury occurred to let them know about it. After all, they were the ones in charge of monitoring the fight. The USADA was only in charge of monitoring the drug testing. Pacquiao’s injury, which was diagnosed from an MRI, should have been something they reported to the Nevada Commission once they knew the extent of the injury. I don’t think it’s a good thing that Pacquiao and his team didn’t report it until before the fight. Yes, the fight fans wanted to see the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, but they wanted to see two healthy fighters, not a guy that came into the fight with only one healthy arm. It’s like paying to see a concert where the singer has laryngitis and can only rasp. I don’t think fans would be too happy about that. It’s nice that Kellerman thinks it’s admirable that Pacquiao still went through with the fight, but to many boxing fans, they feel that he did it just so he could get the big $100+ payday. The fans aren’t happy that they paid all that money to see the fight when it turned out to be a mismatch with Mayweather dominating a timid-looking Pacquiao.
“By the way, if he [Pacquiao] postpones, there may never be a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight,” Kellerman said. “Who knows if Mayweather is still active in 12 months plus in the future? So Pacquiao’s camp clears it with USADA, the drug testing body that Mayweather’s side insisted upon. USADA says ‘fine, a shot of Toradol is fine.’ Then ultimately at the last hour the Nevada State Athletic Commission says that Pacquiao can’t get the shot of Toradol because of essentially a clerical error, because some box wasn’t checked off and some form wasn’t filled out right. If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best, and that’s the belief, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in my view, because just when the world needed them to show some sound judgement, they decided to stand up on principal instead of cooperating with the spirit of the event,” Kellerman said.
It’s interesting that Kellerman sounds so cavalier about the pre-medical questionnaire not being filled out correctly because some people take these things seriously. Pacquiao checked off on the form that he didn’t have an injury to his shoulder. The Nevada Commission obviously noticed that the form wasn’t filled out correctly, and it might have been their reasoning for denying Pacquiao the use of Toradol, the anti-inflammatory drug.
I don’t think it would have made any difference in the fight even if Pacquiao did take the anti-inflammatory drug for his injured shoulder. He just looked like he didn’t have the right mindset to be out there, and he wasn’t fighting the right fight for him to have a chance to beat Mayweather.