What does a rotator cuff tear mean to a professional Boxer?

What does a rotator cuff tear mean to a pro boxer?

Boxing_glovesMany of us spent this weekend watching the “Fight of the Century”, only to be underwhelmed by the action of the match. Don’t get me wrong Floyd Mayweather is a skilled defensive boxer and counter puncher, so if his opponent does not take the fight to Floyd it was not going to be a knock down brawl to justify the anticipated “Fight of the Century” billing. That being said, what happened to Manny Pacquiao?

The post-fight reports focused on Manny’s poor performance. Some said, he just ran up against the greatest pound for pound “boxer” in Floyd Mayweather and had no answer for the skills of the champ. While others felt that there had to be something wrong with Manny. As many have heard by now, the word coming out of Pac-Man’s camp is that he suffered a shoulder injury similar to that of basketball great Kobe Bryant on his non-dominate side and that is why he was unable to pressure the defensive minded Mayweather. So what effect would a complete tear of the rotator cuff have on a boxer facing the biggest challenge of his career?

Let us begin by reviewing what effect a torn rotator cuff would have on a “normal” person doing everyday activities. The rotator cuff muscles stabilize the shoulder allowing easy range of motion and optimal power of the shoulder when they are functioning normally. Persons with an acutely torn rotator cuff experience significant pain with motion, pain at night and severe weakness in the affected shoulder. So simple activities like putting on a jacket, lifting a gallon of milk or rolling over in bed are almost unbearable. As you can imagine being one of the main actors in the “Fight of the Century” is probably not going to go well for you with a torn rotator cuff.

So what is in store for Manny Pacquiao and his future as a boxer? Let’s just say this was a good time for his biggest payday ever. Acute full thickness rotator cuff tears are best treated with arthroscopic repair of the tear. This surgery, if done by a well-trained Orthopedic surgeon, usually takes about an hour to complete, but that’s the easy part. Recovery from a rotator cuff tear can take 12-18 months before full function and strength are achieved. Even with the best recovery overhead athletes or those requiring a quick and powerful jab are less likely to return to their pre-injury status. Along with Floyd Mayweather already looking to hang up the gloves and enjoy the good life, there will probably not be a rematch and if there is one before Manny Pcquiao fully recovers, we should expect the same underwhelming action we saw in the first “Fight of the Century’.


Dr Andrew Scott Martin

5546 S Fort Apache Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89148