By Chris Williams: After losing a 12 round unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last Saturday night in one of Pacquiao’s worst performances of his 20-year pro career, Pacquiao will be undergoing surgery this week to have his injured right shoulder repaired, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
Pacquiao, 36, has a tear in his right rotator cuff that needs to be repaired. The rotator cuff is an area that baseball pitchers tend to injure. We also saw super middleweight Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy suffer a torn rotator cuff of his left shoulder years ago and need surgery. Lacy’s left hook has arguably not been the same since the surgery.
Pacquiao came into last Saturday’s fight against Mayweather with the right shoulder injury. He was hoping to use an anti-inflammatory medication before the fight so that he wouldn’t aggravate the injury, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission turned him down and he had to go into the fight without a shot.
“We have an MRI scan that confirms he has a rotator cuff tear. He has a significant tear,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache to ESPN.com.
While Pacquiao recently said that he would bounce back from the shoulder surgery quickly, the prognosis for coming back from the type of surgery that he has is going to be “nine months and a year, assuming the surgery and rehabilitation go well,” according to ESPN.com. That’s obviously a long time for a fighter as old as Pacquiao to be out of the ring, as he’s 36 now and isn’t a spring chicken anymore. Having Pacquiao sit for the remainder of 2015 means that Pacquiao will be 37 by the time he enters the ring in 2016 if he’s fully healed by then. Further, if Pacquiao’s right hand isn’t what it once was before the surgery, which is a very real possibility, then Pacquiao could once again become the one-armed fighter that he was in the first 10 year of his pro career before his trainer Freddie Roach helped him develop his right hand.
There’s little chance that Pacquiao will be able to dominate using just his left hand in the welterweight division. Pacquiao might have to move down to the light welterweight division if he wants to continue to have success, and even then he might struggle. There are a lot of good light welterweights like Terence Crawford and Lucas Matthysse where Pacquiao would need more than one arm to beat them.
Pacquiao’s surgery will take place in Los Angeles, California. The day hasn’t been picked as of yet, according to Rafael.
Pacquiao looked timid and unsure of himself against Mayweather from the very start of the fight after getting hit with several right hands from Mayweather while attempting to attack him. With the way that Pacquiao was nailed hard by Mayweather each time he attempted to charge him, it’s not likely that it would have mattered too much whether Pacquiao’s right shoulder was 100 percent healthy for the fight.
Mayweather was simply not going to be beaten by a fighter that comes straight at him without a jab or any real plan for success. If Pacquiao was able to use side to side movement when attacking Mayweather, he would have had a chance to beat him, but Pacquiao hasn’t used that style of fighting for many years now.
That’s why it was kind of surprising to listen to Roach talking about how Pacquiao was going to attack Mayweather using his old side to side angle attacks. If that was going to be the case then why did Pacquiao stop using that style of fighting after 2008? The weight that Pacquiao put on when bulking up to 147 seven years ago seems to have robbed Pacquiao of his ability to move side to side.
Pacquiao injured his right shoulder 2 ½ weeks ago during a sparring session. The Nevada State Athletic Commission wasn’t informed of the injury. Instead, the USADA, who were administering the drug testing for the fight was told.
“Once you know he has a tear that’s not going to heal on its own, then the decision for an active person is you want to try to fix this before it gets bigger,” ElAttrache said. “If all goes as expected with the surgery and the rehab is successful, Manny could be back training in about six months. At that point, he will be regaining strength and endurance, and competition is reasonable within nine months to a year.”
So there it is. Pacquiao is looking at nine months before he’ll be able to return to the ring under the best of circumstances. In hindsight, it seems pretty obvious that Pacquiao should have postponed the Mayweather fight and let his shoulder heal on its own rather than competing, looking poor, and then aggravating the injury. However, what’s not known is whether the shoulder would have healed naturally with rest. It might have needed surgery even under those circumstances. That would have meant that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would have had to be postponed from 9-12 months. I think fight wouldn’t have been nearly as big as if was if Pacquiao was coming off of a year-long layoff.