The highly-anticipated “fight of the century” might end up being the “fraud of the century,” as two disgruntled boxing fans filed a lawsuit against Manny Pacquiao and his team.
A $5 million class action lawsuit was filed by Las Vegas residents Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran in a Nevada court.
They claim that they are fighting “on behalf of all persons who purchased tickets; purchased the pay-per-view event; or who wagered money on the event.”
The plaintiffs claim they were defrauded by Pacquiao and his team for not disclosing that his shoulder has been injured.
The lawsuit reads as follows.
“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. Defendants further know that such injury would severely affect his performance.”
It’s understandable that there’s so much anger and disappointment over the revelation that Pacquiao suffered a shoulder injury that he didn’t disclose prior to the fight.
The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was the most expensive fight in boxing history. Reports have pegged that 3 million people in the US alone were set to pay $100 to watch it on pay-per-view. That’s already $300 million, on top of the staggering cost of tickets at the MGM Grand.
The Filipino boxer’s team has called the lawsuit “frivolous,” a sentiment that was echoed by Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer who represents Top Rank. Petrocelli gave a statement.
“The allegations in this lawsuit are demonstrably false. 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.”
His explanation will undoubtedly not sit well with the Nevada Athletic Commission, which is not happy with how Pacquiao’s team handled his injury and which has accused the boxer of being dishonest.
The commission is also looking into possible disciplinary actions against the boxer.
Francisco Aguilar, NAC chairman, said on Monday that the state attorney general’s office will conduct an investigation as to why the 36-year-old Pacquiao checked “no” on a commission questionnaire asking if he had a shoulder injury a day before the fight.
“The first I heard of this was at 6:08pm when he [Pacquiao] arrived in the locker room,” Aguilar said.
“I have no proof of the injury. If he told us on Friday, we would have got the MRIs and there are a lot of things we could have done.”
If Pacquiao is found guilty, he could face a fine or suspension by Nevada’s boxing officials.
[Image by Harry How, Getty Images]