The actual fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was pretty devoid of drama. Apparently, the two boxers saved all of the drama for before and after the match.
After Mayweather's decisive, unanimous-decision victory, Pacquiao revealed in the post-fight press conference that he was dealing with a shoulder injury. And the plot has only thickened, with the revelation that Pac-Man will require surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
Suddenly, Pacquiao's lackluster performance makes a bit more sense. Of course, it also very nicely sets up the possibility for a rematch, per ESPN.com:
"I will fight him in a year after his surgery," Mayweather texted [Stephan A.] Smith on the heels of his unanimous decision over Pacquiao in the richest fight ever.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache told ESPN.com on Monday that Pacquiao will have surgery later this week to repair a "significant tear" in his rotator cuff, which he suffered prior to the fight. The surgery will sideline the boxer for at least nine to 12 months.
The conspiracy theorists among us will point out just how perfect this all sets up for a lucrative rematch. After all, the two fighters just cleared a huge paycheck on the first fight and can essentially market the second fight as the first meeting between both fighters at full strength. In essence, the hope will be that fans clamor to see the second fight to see if Pac-Man's shoulder was indeed the reason he lost the first bout.
If it was, in fact, a conspiracy, it would be a pretty brilliant one.
But the conspiracy sort of falls short when you consider the legal trouble Pacquiao could be facing for failing to disclose his injury to the Nevada Athletic Commission, per Telegraph Sport:
And c'mon, let's all pretend like the world isn't a horrible place for a moment, OK? Besides, it's very clear that Pacquiao wasn't quite himself in the first fight, and a torn rotator cuff would certainly explain quite a bit.
Consider these figures from ESPN Stats & Information:
It didn't take a boxing expert to notice that Pacquiao wasn't throwing his right with as much frequency or effectiveness as we've seen in the past. Now, some of that can be chalked up to his decline and Mayweather's defensive superiority, but c'mon, the only way Pacquiao was going to win this fight was by crowding Mayweather and throwing combination after combination at him.
The fact that he didn't suggests he was either demoralized by Mayweather and completely scrapped his strategy—an unlikely hypothesis—or that his shoulder was too weak and was causing him too much pain for him to attack effectively with his right.
Nobody is suggesting, of course, that a healthy Pacquiao will beat Mayweather. Nobody is making excuses for Pacquiao. On early Sunday morning, Mayweather was the better boxer, and quite frankly, if there is a rematch, Mayweather will be favored. However, it's hard to argue against the fact that Pacquiao's shoulder injury adversely affected him in the first bout.
So there you go. If Pacquiao survives surgery and the legal issues he could be facing and the two fighters jump through every necessary hoop to establish a rematch, the selling point will be Mayweather versus a healthy Pacquiao. And despite feeling burnt by the underwhelming first fight, people will most likely eat up the second bout just like they ate up the first one.
And so the world turns.