Filipino Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has started training for his April 9 grudge match with Timothy Bradley, Jr. However, things haven’t been as smooth sailing as it should be.
On Tuesday, Trainer Freddie Roach said that his prized pupil suffered an eye injury during his first sparring session. However, Roach said the injury wasn’t a cause for concern. Said Roach to reporters, via philboxing.com:
“No, there’s nothing serious about it. Nothing to worry about. It’s just that he hurt his eye during sparring yesterday and I thought maybe he needs another day of rest.”
Pacquiao buddy and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez told local media that he reviewed the tape of the said sparring session and he saw that a glancing blow from Canada-based sparring mate Guislain Muduma grazed Pacman’s eye during the third round of their sparring session. That, he said, caused the injury and forced Pacquiao to cancel Wednesday’s training sessions.
But while Pacquiao was initially scheduled to rest on Wednesday only, he also took Thursday off because of what his camp called an “eye irritation”. According to Fernandez, the injury to Pacquiao’s eye was aggravated by the application of too much petroleum jelly to the fighter’s face during that same sparring session. Again, Roach doused off rumours that the injury was serious and that it’s depleted their schedule:
“Well, these things happen in every training camp and in any preparation for a fight. This is unavoidable and we cannot do anything about it. The good thing is, this happens this early in the camp and we can still easily make adjustments on our schedule.”
Pacquiao fans breathed a sigh of relief when the 8-division champion showed up for training on Friday (Philippine time). Pacquiao himself even went to social media to announce that he’s back:
Back to training. Let’s go #TeamPacquiao
If you click the link and watch the video, notice that Pacquiao is wearing sunglasses during the most part of the training session. According to Team Pacquiao, Manny is wearing eyewear to protect a scratch in hers eye. A Scratch? Hope that’s really nothing serious.
In the biggest fight of his career, Pacquiao and his team withheld information about a shoulder injury which he aggravated during his May 2, 2015 bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Up to this very day, Pacquiao insists that the now infamous shoulder cost him that fight.
Pacquiao’s next bout will be the final chapter of his legendary boxing career. Exactly one month after he fights Bradley, Pacquiao enters a ring bigger than the ones he fought for nearly two decades. Pacquiao is gunning for a Senatorial post in his country’s national elections come May. Should he win, which is likely despite all the criticisms about his performance as a legislator in his home province of Saranggani, he may never find time to train and fight again. Which brings us to a point: Manny Pacquiao’s April 9 bout cannot be moved. And because it can’t be moved, he cannot afford an injury that will postpone the Bradley bout.
Manny Pacquiao is facing a lot of adversaries right now. A political opponent threatened to request for the cancellation of his bout because of existing Philippine election laws. The Philippine Commission on Election has yet to decide on that issue. Just recently, Pacquiao drew the ire of the LGBT community (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals andTransgenders) for his unpopular statement on same sex marriage. What’s worse, this once national treasure is now the target of bashers because of his insensitive comments. Pacquiao must fight through all of these while at the same time prepare for Timothy Bradley Jr.
While I’d like to believe that there is nothing serious with that eye injury, I can’t help but ask questions. What if that injury is more serious than just a little scratch?
Save for Justin Fortune, Alex Alex Ariza and Michael Moorer, Pacman’s ringmen are the same. How come, after two decades of working in Manny’s corner, they suddenly forgot how much petroleum jelly to put on Manny’s face last Tuesday? What if Bradley targets the eye during the bout? Remember what Miguel Cotto did to Antonio Margarito’s injured eye during their rematch?
Unless proven otherwise, Pacquiao’s eye injury isn’t serious. But something’s not right with the way this training camp has started- the controversies, the eye injury. In the past, Manny’s fought well under pressure and with distractions. But there can be no bigger distraction than a damaged eye. Seriously, let’s hope this eye injury isn’t really serious. We don’t want a postponement nor do we need another excuse.