By Geoffrey Gray
Mike Koncz, Manny Pacquiao's longtime business adviser, is missing a key detail in his mea culpa in Shouldergate. Koncz is taking the heat, claiming in interviews that the reason Pacquiao, one of the most beloved fighters of his generation and a national icon in the Philippines, is now under scrutiny for failing to disclose a shoulder injury was all his fault.
"It was just an inadvertent mistake," Koncz told the New York Daily News. "We weren't trying to hide anything. I just don't think I read the questionnaire correctly."
Koncz is trying to steer blame toward him as his fighter faces a career-tainting scandal, along with a serious and potentially career-altering shoulder injury to boot (on Wednesday, Pacquiao underwent arthroscopic surgery for a torn rotator cuff). But his rationale for not alerting regulatory officials about Pacquiao's injury, and potentially committing perjury in the process, is at odds with what Pacquiao and other members of his camp have been saying.
Pacquiao never wanted Nevada State Athletic Commission officials to know his shoulder was injured. The day after the fight, conducting an impromptu news conference at his hotel suite in Las Vegas, Pacquiao said the reason he, promoter Bob Arum, Koncz and other members of his team never alerted officials to his injury was strategic. If they listed on public forms, such as the medical questionnaire, that Pacquiao had a shoulder injury, Floyd Mayweather and members of his camp might have gotten access to the document, and thus exploit his injury in the fight. Just as boxers attack the cuts of their opponents to draw more blood, there are also ways to aggravate an injured shoulder, such as grappling, twisting and mangling it in clinches.
I"Floyd could have gotten the documents, or someone at the commission could have told him," said David Sisson, a member of Pacquiao's entourage and confidant of the fighter throughout his training.
Koncz didn't return a call for comment, but among the members of Team Pacquiao, there is a universal belief that commission officials somehow conspired to prevent Pacquiao from getting an injection for his shoulder in the hours leading up to the fight. The medications that Pacquiao sought to take, a cocktail of pain relievers and anti-numbing agents, were all legal and not on lists of performance-enhancing drugs. In fact, Pacquiao's reps went as far as to alert anti-doping officials about the medications. But the more Koncz tells the story about an administrative error, and the more others reject ever knowing about his fighter's shoulder injury, the more it becomes clear that the non-disclosure was deliberate.
Fearful -- perhaps paranoid -- of Mayweather learning about the injury that sidelined Pacquiao throughout his training, Pacquiao and his camp kept things quiet, right up until the last minute. By then, it was far too late.