Boxing: Fans sue Manny Pacquiao for more than US$5 million over bum shoulder

Boxing Promoter Bob Arum (right) with Manny Pacquiao (left) attending a press conference after Pacquiao's defeat by Floyd Mayweather Jr.  following their welterweight unification championship boxing fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Veg
Boxing Promoter Bob Arum (right) with Manny Pacquiao (left) attending a press conference after Pacquiao's defeat by Floyd Mayweather Jr.  following their welterweight unification championship boxing fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. -- PHOTO: EPA

LAS VEGAS  - Manny Pacquiao went into the richest match in boxing history without telling fans and gamblers he had a shoulder injury. Now, he has another fight on his hands, according to Bloomberg News.

Two Nevada residents sued the boxer, his manager and a fight promoter for more than US$5 million (S$6.67 million) saying everyone who bought a ticket, paid as much as US$99.95 to watch it on television or bet on Pacquaio's bout with Floyd Mayweather was ripped off. The two residents seek to represent all ticket and pay-per-view buyers and bettors.

Pacquaio, 36, was set to receive about 40 per cent of the US$300 million that the fight was expected to generate in revenue. He lost the fight in a 12-round decision and later revealed he suffered a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder during training.

Pacquiao and Top Rank Inc., one of the promoters of the "Fight of the Century," had a duty to disclose the injury to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and failed to do so until shortly before the start of the match, according the complaint filed Tuesday in Las Vegas federal court.

"Defendants prior to and at the time the plaintiffs and the class decided to purchase tickets; purchase pay per view showings or wagered on the event the defendants knew and had full knowledge and information that defendant Pacquiao had been seriously injured and was suffering from a torn rotator cuff," the lawsuit reads, according to ABC TV in the US. "Defendants further know that such injury would severely affect his performance."

It is estimated that pay-per-view revenues could top US$300 million, and wagers in the state of Nevada alone on the fight could surpass US$60 million. Ticket revenues from the fight were expected to generate US$72 million, though only roughly 500 tickets were sold to the public.

Although Saturday's fight went the full 12 rounds, with Mayweather winning by a unanimous decision, the question is whether the fight  was properly promoted or whether it was a fair contest from the start, ABC noted. The plaintiffs argue that it was not and violated the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Top Rank said in a statement posted on its website on Monday that Pacquiao's advisers had notified the US Anti- Doping Agency of the injury and got approval from the agency for him to use Toradol, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory as treatment.

The Nevada Commission stopped the treatment shortly before the fight because, according to Top Rank's statement, it was unaware of the injury

."The allegations in this lawsuit are demonstrably false," said attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who represents Top Rank, according to ABC. "There are documents that explicitly show the medications that Manny was using to treat his shoulder and it was fully disclosed with USADA, which we contracted for this fight."

Pacquiao went ahead with the fight even though his shoulder wasn't "perfect," according to the promoter's statement.

Lee Samuels, a spokesman for Las Vegas-based Top Rank had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.