MANILA, May 4 (Mabuhay) – Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao expressed his disappointment at the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) after he was denied an injection inside the locker room that could have numbed the pain in his injured right shoulder.
Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their “Fight of the Century” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila), but afterwards, he revealed that he fought despite having an injury in his right shoulder.
“Ayoko namang gawing malaking isyu ‘yung balikat ko kasi baka sabihin nag-dahilan ako,” Pacquiao told reporters Monday.
Pacquiao revealed that he injured his shoulder three weeks before the fight, and was initially advised by his doctor to rest for 30 to 40 days.
“Eh three weeks before the fight na lang,” he said. “So sabi ng doctor, para magamit sa fight, kailangan ‘wag mo gamitin sa training para gumaling, and then, sa fight, yung mag-injection na lang ng pang-numb para hindi ma-feel ‘yung sakit.”
Pacquiao stressed that the shot he was set to receive on fight night was not a steroid and legal in Las Vegas. He explained that he brought two doctors from Los Angeles to administer the shot, but in the dressing room, the NSAC barred him from taking the injection.
Moreover, the commission also disallowed Pacquiao from having his own vitamins and water brought into the locker room.
“The thing is, when we asked about the injection before the fight, they said it’s legal in Nevada to have the injection. This is not steroid, this is just for the numb(ing), and they said that’s okay,” he explained.
“That’s why I bring the two doctors from LA to come over here, and they were ready last night, they came to the dressing room. But we were surprised when the commission rejected the injection,” he added.
The numbing agent works for six hours, Pacquiao said, and would have greatly helped him against Mayweather as it would have allowed him to use both hands. As it was, the “Pacman” essentially became a one-fisted fighter as he could only throw his left hand.
“I’m so disappointed in the commission,” Pacquiao said. “Because the commission knows, I believe that they know. They said that we didn’t fill up the form (but) we filled them up.”
“I’m also disappointed because for the first time in my boxing career, more than 20 years in my boxing career, that they hold my vitamins, they hold my water into the dressing room. This is new,” he said.
NSAC informed only on fight night?
Pacquiao repeatedly insisted that the commission was aware of his injury, and that they filled up the corresponding forms required – a claim that was backed up by his promoter, Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum.
NSAC Commissioner Francisco Aguilar disputed this, however, saying they were informed of the injury only on the night of the fight itself.
“I made the decision not to allow (the injection) because of the timing of the request, and the fact that the fight was going to occur in the next 90 minutes,” Aguilar said, as quoted by Boxing Scene.
“We were not aware of his injury until tonight at 6:30. The medications he was taking were disclosed on his medical questionnaire, but not the actual injury,” he explained.
“This isn’t our first fight. This is our business. There is a process, and when you try to screw with the process, it’s not going to work for you.”
The anti-inflammatory medication that Pacquiao took contained lidocaine, bupivacaine, and celestone.
Pacquiao refused to believe Aguilar’s claim that they only knew of his injury on fight night.
“I don’t believe na nung gabi lang nila nalaman yun. I’m sure, two weeks before, nalaman na nila yun dahil nag-leak, nag-leak ‘yung balita na may injury nga ako sa training,” he said.
Postpone the fight?
Pacquiao admitted that they considered having the fight postponed because of the injury, but eventually decided against it.
“Dumating kami sa point na ipo-postpone na ‘yung fight,” he said.
One reason that he decided to push through was because of the fans. “Ayaw kong madismaya kasi ag mga fans, malapit na, three weeks before the fight. Ayoko namang madismaya sila,” he said.
Moreover, Pacquiao was confident that even with an injured shoulder, he can still fight at a high level – provided that he was allowed to take the injection to numb the pain.
“That’s why I was confident that we didn’t postpone the fight, because I can have the shot for the fight,” he said.
“Walang problema kung hindi hinold ‘yung pang-injection ko. Kasi nung nagpa-MRI ako, tapos in-injection-an ako, talagang a hundred percent ko na magagamit siya. ‘Yun ‘yung expectation ko. But the thing is, hindi tayo nasaksakan ng injection,” he added.
Pacquiao again stressed that he was not trying to make any excuses.
“Anyway, tapos na ‘yan,” he said. “Ayokong gawing isyo ‘yan, na ‘yan ang dahilan. Ine-explain ko lang ang balikat ko.”
“Pero ang sa akin ay, bakit hindi nila pinayagan ang injection ko na pang-numb lang sa balikat ko, which is legal naman? Hindi naman ‘yun steroid,” he added.
“Pero tapos na ‘yun. Tapos na ‘yun. Ayaw lang namin maging sinungaling, gawin kaming sinungaling na hindi kami nag-fill up ng form, which we did. We filled up the form, binigay namin sa kanila.”
Pacquiao is set to undergo an MRI on his injured shoulder to determine if he needs to undergo surgery. (MNS)