It’s amazing how a fighter’s image can drastically change after one fateful evening.
In the days leading up to the most lucrative event within boxing’s rich history, eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao was on top of the world, seemingly carrying the hopes of an entire legion of fight fans. The Congressman was the toast of the Philippines and the envy of most aspiring young fighters.
But shortly after a “surprisingly” uninspired showing against the best defensive fighter of his era, Floyd Mayweather Jr., as well as a plethora of uncharacteristic post-fight excuses, the Pac-Man’s stock quickly plummeted universally.
Even after medical confirmation of Pacquiao’s severe shoulder injury, suffered three weeks before the May 2 prizefight, as well as evidence of the ensuing arthroscopic surgery, the disgruntled sporting world wasn’t willing to show Manny any sympathy and consequently began crying “foul."
With several lawsuits filed in eight different states, the paying customer wanted to see someone’s head roll in the public eye…and unanimously, it was the head of the future Hall of Famer, Manny Pacquiao.
Immediately following HBO’s replay of “Mayweather vs. Pacquiao”, which aired on Saturday, May 9, ESPN and Home Box Office correspondent Max Kellerman voiced his personal thoughts on the overwhelming media and public scrutiny of the former WBO Welterweight Champion.
“I think some people have the sense that Manny Pacquiao sold out for the money,” stated the ESPN and HBO boxing commentator. “And by fighting with a torn rotator cuff, not giving himself the best chance to win, he somehow perpetrated a fraud on the public.”
“I strongly disagree with this.”
“A dilemma is not a tough choice. A dilemma is choice between two bad options. What was Manny Pacquiao supposed to do, when three weeks before the fight, he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that needed surgery? Was he supposed to postpone the fight, taking twelve months off in the interim?”
“Does coming back after shoulder surgery and a seventeen month ring absence give him a better chance to beat the best pound for pound fighter in the world? "
The tickets had already been sold, the hotel rooms had been booked, the airfare, etc…the eyes of the boxing world waiting six years to see this fight.”
“What did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned-up.”
“If he postponed, there may never have been a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. Who knows if Mayweather would have still been active after Manny’s recovery time.”
How did Manny “man-up”?
With a willingness to fight the best defensive fighter of his era for the sake of salvaging the clamored historic event, the 36 year old ring legend elected to seek treatment, including a possible injection on the night of the fight of the anti-inflammatory Toradol, which is a non-steroidal prescription medication, instead of postponing the heralded “Fight of the Century”.
The always outspoken HBO commentator continued with his on-air “editorial”.
“So Pacquiao’s camp clears it with USADA, the drug testing body that Mayweather’s side insisted upon,” claims Max Kellerman. “USADA says, ‘fine…a shot of Toradol is fine’. And then ultimately, at the eleventh hour, the Nevada State Athletic Commission says Pacquiao can’t get a shot of Toradol because of what is essentially a clerical error?”
“Because some box wasn’t checked off and some form wasn’t filled out correctly? If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best on May 2, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in my view. Because just when the boxing world needed them to show sound judgment, they decided to stand on principle instead of cooperating with the spirit of the event.”
Although Max’s commentary is indeed insightful and thought provoking, his heart felt plea to the sports consumer will more than likely fall on deaf ears.