Manny Pacquiao put in what many called a vintage performance this past weekend, when he notched a TKO victory over Lucas Matthysse. While he made it look like a relatively easy bout inside the ring, the Filipino boxer was apparently struggling with health issues outside of it.
According to his PR manager, Pacquiao complained about difficulty breathing numerous times during training, and was rushed to a hospital in Manila seven days before his bout. Doctors conducted some tests, including an ECG and an angiogram to check for heart problems.
During the procedure, a long and thin flexible tube called a catheter was inserted into Pacquiao’s wrist all the way up to his heart. A dye was injected and x-ray pictures were taken.
Based on medical information, the special dye allows the X-rays to capture pictures of coronary arteries and highlights where the clogs or narrowed spots may be located.
They didn’t release the specific condition, but his publicist noted that doctors had diagnosed Pacquiao with an “inborn heart ailment” and advised him to call off the bout against Matthysse.
Pacquiao protested was made to sign a waiver by the doctors in Manila.
The 39-year-old boxer kept this all secret from most of his training team and even his family, who was already in Malaysia at the time he was hospitalized. Pacquiao was said to have kept it to himself as he didn’t want his wife and kids to worry, or for his team to be demoralized. His long time friend and head trainer, Buboy Fernandez only found out after leaving the hospital.
“Buboy cried hard upon learning what happened,” Pacquiao said. “But I told him to stay strong and continue what he was doing. God will take care of the rest.”
According to his team, Pacquiao flew to Malaysia on July 9th, a day after being hospitalized. He didn’t train until two days later.
Presumably, doctors in Malaysia didn’t catch the heart ailment, as Pacquiao was still able to be cleared to fight. He went on to stop Matthysse in the 7th round, marking his first knockout win since 2009