MANILA, Philippines – Max Kellerman, the HBO commentator who drew ire for his frank line of questioning in his post-fight interview with Manny Pacquiao, defended the Filipino boxing icon’s decision to push through with his heavily-hyped showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. despite the shoulder injury.
“So 12 months off, he already was off for five months, he’s supposed to come back after shoulder surgery and a 17-plus month ring absence to fight and try to beat Floyd Mayweather. Does that give him his best chance to win? When all the tickets have already been sold, the hotel rooms have been booked, the airfare etc., the eyes of the boxing world were hoping to see this fight, and what did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned up,” Kellerman said during Saturday’s broadcast of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs James Kirkland fight.
Pacquiao injured his right shoulder three weeks before the highly-anticipated bout versus Mayweather and was forced to take several days off from sparring as he nursed the aforementioned ailment.
An MRI exam subsequently showed a rotator cuff tear in Pacquiao’s shoulder, but his camp says they opted to proceed with the fight since he made good progress in the gym and looked like he could still compete.
While Mayweather landed 148 of 435 punches during the 12-round title unification tussle, Pacquiao connected with just 81 of 429 as his aggressive style was neutralized by his opponent’s flashy defense and ring generalship.
According to Pacquiao, the shoulder injury limited him from throwing more punches.
Pacquiao’s confession has sparked several lawsuits from fans.
At least five lawsuits in various states have been filed against Pacquiao, Bob Arum’s Top Rank and other entities, claiming that they defrauded the public in failing to disclose his injury.
Kellerman came to the aid of Pacquiao, noting that it would have been a logistical nightmare to delay the fight for a year to have shoulder surgery.
Pacquiao claimed that the Nevada State Athletic Commission had approved his use of numbing agent injections after his camp submitted a request two weeks before his marquee match-up against Mayweather, but the commission did not allow the medication on fight night as no injuries were divulged at the official weigh-in or on the medical questionnaire.
The commission stressed that the request had only been made the night of the fight.
“If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best, if that is the view, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission. In my view, because just when the boxing world needed them to show sound judgment, they chose to stand on principle instead of cooperate with the spirit of the event,” Kellerman stated.
Pacquiao had a successful surgery on his injured right shoulder on Thursday, May 7 (Manila Time).