The aim of this study was to evaluate the hypothesis that cerebral hemoglobin (Hb) oxygenation is related to phosphorylation potential during primary and secondary cerebral energy failure in newborn infants who have experienced birth asphyxia. We subjected newborn piglets to severe transient cerebral hypoxic-ischemia followed by resuscitation and examined cerebral energy metabolism by 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy and evaluated changes in cerebral Hb oxygen saturation (ScO2) using full-spectrum near-infrared spectroscopy before, during, and up to 54 h after the hypoxic-ischemic insult. ScO2 was significantly decreased during the hypoxic-ischemic insult compared with baseline values. During secondary energy failure, piglets were separated based on the relationship between the ratio of phosphocreatine to inorganic phosphate and ScO2; those with a negative correlation were less injured than those with a positive correlation. These results indicate that changes in ScO2 as measured by near-infrared spectroscopy are related to phosphorylation potential during secondary energy failure in asphyxiated infants.