WATCH: Mayweather makes shoulder injury excuses after Castillo fight
MANILA, Philippines - In boxing, there are no excuses. Floyd Mayweather Jr was correct about that after Manny Pacquiao drew attention to the torn right rotator cuff he suffered in training before their May 2 fight, which Mayweather won by unanimous decision.
Mayweather derided Pacquiao as a "sore loser" in an interview with Showtime's Jim Gray for doing so, and rescinded his offer of a rematch.
What Mayweather (48-0, 26 knockouts) is also correct about is that he isn't perfect, and that he sometimes contradict himself.
Mayweather has had one instance where he performed poorly enough that a significant portion of boxing observers felt he deserved to lose. And ironically enough, he blamed the performance on a shoulder injury.
On April 20, 2002, Mayweather moved up to lightweight to challenge Jose Luis Castillo for the division's WBC title. Towards the middle rounds, the stronger Castillo began to take over the fight, forcing Mayweather into a toe-to-toe brawl that favored the durable Mexican.
At the end of 12 rounds, Compubox stats saw a significant edge in power punching for Castillo, 173 out of 377 (46%) compared to just 66 of 151 (44%) for Mayweather, and HBO unofficial judge Harold Lederman turned in a scorecard of 115-111 in favor of Castillo.
Two of the judges had the same score - but for Mayweather - while a third scored it 116-111 for the hometown fighter.
Mayweather said in the post-fight interview: "My last training day, I hurt my rotator in my left shoulder so I wasn’t able to use my jab like I wanted to. My left wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be. But I didn’t want to have no excuses like other champions, when they get hurt they don’t even show up to the fight."
Mayweather, who told Yahoo! Sports that if Pacquiao was truly injured that he shouldn't have fought hurt, went on to say that he wanted to give the fans a good fight before being cut off by Larry Merchant.
Mayweather had successful surgery and faced Castillo in a rematch, winning via a one-sided unanimous decision. Pacquiao had surgery in Los Angeles this past week and is expected to return to the Philippines on Tuesday, May 12.
None of this detracts from the greatness of Mayweather: he is one of the greatest boxers of all-time and he has beaten the system in a way that no boxer ever has.
But he's contradicting himself here. In the same interview with Showtime, Mayweather called Pacquiao a "coward." This despite Pacquiao pressing forward from the opening bell.
Again, there are no excuses in boxing, and Mayweather is the clear deserving victor. But his comments in the interim have stirred up skeletons in his own closet.
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
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