LAS VEGAS—Now, it can be told: Manny Pacquiao sustained an injury to his right shoulder entering the last three weeks of training camp at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood.
That was the reason for the secret training sessions.
Bob Arum, head honcho of Top Rank Promotions, made the disclosure on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) in the postfight news conference of Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. held in the ring where the two welterweights battled for 12 rounds less than two hours earlier.
Though the injury, hidden from the media and the public alike, was healing, it was still bothering Pacquiao, Arum said.
This prompted Bruce Trampler, Top Rank matchmaker, to approach the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), at 7 p.m. on Saturday to ask if Pacquiao could take painkillers under the supervision of team doctors.
Request for painkiller denied
NAC commissioner Francisco Aguilar, however, declined the request because the fight was but two hours away and it would be difficult to ascertain the possible effects of the drugs (Lidocaine, Celeston and Bupivacaine) on the performance of Pacquiao against Mayweather.
For another, Aguilar noted that the request was made verbally, not in writing.
Arum claimed, however, that they actually asked the NAC for approval of the drugs to be administered to Pacquiao’s shoulders five days before the fight.
Unlike in the early stages, when the Philippine media, especially the television networks, were granted access to Pacquiao’s training, chief trainer Freddie Roach ordered a total lock-down of Wild Card.
In one stretch, Pacquiao even missed three straight sparring days, the first time it had happened in the Filipino icon’s training camps.
Reasons given that time were that Pacquiao was approaching peak form too fast and Roach had to grant him a training break, and that Pacquiao did not need too many sparring rounds anymore.
Hurting again in 3rd round
According to Roach, Pacquiao complained about his shoulder hurting again in the third round of the 12-round battle for the unified world welterweight crown.
Arum said the injury was similar to what Kobe Bryant suffered once.
“Athletes always fight hurt. We were disappointed the injury popped again in the third round. He re-injured it in the game. It happens in every store,” said Arum.
Unfortunately, it happened on Saturday night in the fight against Mayweather.