Manny Pacquiao: ‘We were sabotaged’

Ryan Songalia

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Manny Pacquiao: ‘We were sabotaged’
Manny Pacquiao says the Nevada Athletic Commission barred him from injecting numbing agents in his injured shoulder even if it was legal, adding Floyd Mayweather Jr knew of his injury, consistently pulling at his arm during the fight

LAS VEGAS, USA (2nd UPDATE) – A day after his unanimous decision loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao told reporters he was “sabotaged” on fight night.

Pacquiao said the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) had approved his use of numbing agent injections after his camp submitted a request two weeks before his fight, only to be told different on fight night.

Speaking with reporters at his Delano Hotel suite on Sunday, May 3, the day after his unanimous decision loss, the Filipino boxer said that he had sent his sparring partners home early after he suffered a tear in his right rotator cuff during a sparring session. 

He said the doctor told him to rest his shoulder for 30-40 days.

Pacquiao said he considered postponing the fight but opted against doing so believing he would be allowed injections of numbing agents lidocaine, celestone and bupivacaine, which are legal and were approved by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

He said he and his team talked about the decision to continue with the fight together.

“The thing is, kumbaga, ayokong madismaya yung mga fans, madismaya na malapit na (I didn’t want to dismay the fans that it was so close) 3 weeks before the fight,” he said.

“Pero nagusap talga kami nila (trainer) Freddie (Roach), even Bubuy, umiyak nga si Bubuy eh… kung hindi kaya, pinag-usapan namin, eh. Pero kung gumaling naman, kapag mag-recover siya, okay lang. Ang usapan namin okay lang, hindi na muna gamitin, tapos sa gabi ng laban, i-injectionan lang siya ng pang-numb. Hindi siya steroid pero legal dito yun, pang-numb. Ang problema, na sabotahe tayo.”

(We all talked. Freddie, even Bubuy, Bubuy even cried… if I can’t, we talked about it. But if it heals, if it recovers, its okay, let’s just not use it (in training) then on the night of the fight, it will be injected with the numbing agent. It’s not a steroid but its legal here, for numbing. The problem is we were sabotaged).

Pacquiao said aside from the injection, even his supplements and water were prohibited from his dressing room – a first in his career.

No injury report

But NAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar told reporters after the fight that they were aware of the request for the injections, but that no injuries were disclosed to them at the weigh-in or on the medical questionnaire.

Aguilar continued that he decided to bar Pacquiao from the injections  – which have an effect for 6 hours – because the fight would go on in the next 90 minutes.

Pacquiao would not believe Aguilar however, saying there were media leaks about his injury 3 weeks before the fight, “I don’t believe they just found out that night. I’m sure 2 weeks before they knew because it leaked.”

“Someone leaked it from the gym,” he added, even going so far to say Mayweather himself knew of his injury weeks before the fight and took advantage of that during the fight.

“Did you see when he was pulling my arm? Because he knew. He was pulling it, did you see? Because he knew (about my injury),” he said.

Pacquiao says that the injury flared up in round 4 following his big flurry with Mayweather’s back to the ropes. He said he has only watched the fight on replay up until that point.

‘I needed that shot’

Pacquiao said his shoulder afterwards felt like “a needle penetrating my bones.”

“I really needed that shot because if I throw a power hook or power jab, it hurt,” said Pacquiao.

An email requesting a copy of the form from the NAC was not returned by Sunday evening.

“I’m so disappointed in the commission because I believe they know but only they said we didn’t fill out the form,” said Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts). 

“We filled it out but also I’m so disappointed because for the first time in my boxing career, more than 20 years, they hold my vitamins, they hold my water (from) the dressing room. This is new.”

Pacquiao left Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon and will travel back to Los Angeles for another MRI. He says that even if his shoulder requires surgery, it would only sideline him 2-3 months.

When asked if the sport still challenged him, he said: “I feel challenged by what they did to me, these rules and regulations.”

Request for rematch

Pacquiao then said he wants a rematch, convinced he can defeat Mayweather without an injury. He said he now knows how his fight, and his style. He also said he knew he hurt Mayweather, because he felt his punches connect.

Pacquiao added, he was only at “60%” on fight night – but said he still felt like he won.

“My rate of my performance was only at 60%. 60% because my mind wanted to do it, but it was outbalanced because I was only relying on my left,” he said.

Despite his statements however, Pacquiao said he does not want to make excuses.

“I want a rematch if he wants. I wasn’t 100% ready for last night because of this shoulder but I don’t want to use that complaining that I lost the fight. I’m just accepting the fact that I lost.”

He added, “At least to the people, I was the winner.”

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 116-112, and 116-112 for Mayweather. with reports from Natashya Gutierrez/

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