Manny Pacquiao was fighting with a shoulder injury when he faced off against arguably the best boxer of this generation, Floyd Mayweather Jr. And the Mayweather camp knew about the injury prior to the fight according to Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's long-time trainer.
Roach, speaking with The Dan Patrick Show, revealed that both the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps knew about Pacquiao's injury and agreed behind the scenes to allow both fighters to use painkillers before their title fight. According to Roach, the agreement was for Mayweather Jr. to use a painkiller for his hands, apparently a usual precaution for Floyd "because he has very fragile hands," and for Pacquiao to use painkiller for his shoulders.
Roach laments the fact that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) prevented Manny Pacquaio from taking the painkiller while Mayweather was given the go-ahead to use his. The NSAC denied the Pacquiao camp's request since Pacquiao didn't say anything about a shoulder injury during the pre-fight medical examinations. It was later revealed that Pacquiao would need surgery to fix the shoulder injury and that would have meant postponing the mega-fight between the two best boxers in the world.
Roach knew going into the fight that Pacquiao wouldn't be able to perform at his best one-handed. According to Roach, he tried to postpone the fight when he learned that the injury was worse than expected. "I wasn't powerful enough to stop the fight from happening," said Roach.
The fight did happen, and so on fight night, Mayweather Jr. was allowed to use his painkillers, and Pacquiao was prevented from using his. Mayweather dominated Pacquiao on his way to unifying the WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight belts. And when the news about Pacquiao's shoulder injury was revealed after the fight, many fans immediately clamored for a rematch between the two future Hall of Famers.
The majority of boxing analysts believe that Mayweather Jr. would still have beaten Pacquiao even if the Filipino ring icon been fighting at his best condition. But these analysts, not to mention the boxing fans, are wondering how close the fight would have been if Pacquiao was healthy. Pacquiao has had his shoulders surgically repaired and have already fought five times after Mayweather Jr. defeated him.
In his last fight, Pacquiao successfully defended the WBA "regular" welterweight title by scoring an impressive unanimous victory over the American boxer Adrien Broner. The Broner fight showed that Pacquiao still has plenty in his tanks and proved that the Filipino senator remains one of the biggest draws in the world of boxing. Mayweather Jr., meanwhile, has last fought in an exhibition match in Japan against the kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa.
There's still a lot of interest in a Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. rematch. The boxing world erupted this week when the two boxers posted separate training videos online within hours of each other that led to speculations that Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. could be fighting again. While recent reports suggest that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight isn't going to happen, at least not yet, Freddie Roach's recent interview revealed that there's a lot that's happening behind the scene. And a deal could be made without the fight fans knowing about it.