The megabuck fight has transformed into a megabuck headache.
The multimillion-dollar woes arose from Manny Pacquiao’s statement that he had a shoulder injury when he battled Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last May 2 in what was called “the fight of the century.”
Boxing fans, who was disappointed by the lackluster fight, filed class suits against Pacquiao, Mayweather and many others for fraud, claiming they were shortchanged when they paid hard-earned money to watch the much hyped match on pay-per-view TV. They asked a refund of their money and punitive damages.
The Associated Press reported that at least 32 class-action lawsuits filed all over the US allege Pacquiao should have disclosed the shoulder injury to boxing fans before the fight, which Mayweather won in a unanimous decision after 12 lackluster rounds that most fans thought didn’t live up to the hype.
Fight of the century? More like fraud of the century, the lawsuits contend.
“The fight was not great, not entertaining, not electrifying. It was boring, slow and lackluster,” stated a lawsuit filed in Texas, alleging racketeering, a claim usually reserved for organized crime.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of Flights Beer Bar near LAX airport in California said Pacquiao and his promoter’s actions were, “nothing but a cash-grab.” The bar paid $2,600 to broadcast the fight.
As for that grabbed cash, the fighters are each expected to earn more than $100 million, Mayweather more than Pacquiao, and HBO and Showtime broke records raking in more than $400 million from 4.4 million fans who paid to watch the pay-per-view broadcast.
The 32 plaintiffs are demanding more than $500 million in penalties and damages.
Plaintiff Ryla Bouchier, a resident of Houston, Harris County, Texas, who viewed the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in her residence at Galveston, Texas on pay-per-view TV named the following defendants:
Comcast Corporation (Comcast) of CT Corporation System, Philadelphia County, Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103, which does business in Texas “for the purpose of accumulating monetary profit;” Top Rank Inc. of The Prentice Hall Corporation System, Nevada, Inc., Clark County, 2215-B Renaissance Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119; Manny Pacquiao, a resident of the Philippines who “may be served with process at his residence in the Philippines or wherever he may be found;” Mayweather Promotions LLC, of Jeffrey Morse & Associates, Ltd., Clark County, 3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, #200-416, Las Vegas, Nevada 89186; Floyd Mayweather, an individual residing at Clark County, 9705 Highridge Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89134 or “wherever he may be found.”
MGM Grand Hotel and other entities were also named in the suits.
Some four weeks have passed since the fight was held, but many fans were still griping about it.
Many boxing writers, analysts and fans were one in their observation that the supposed “fight of the century” was boring.
Forbes magazine, for one, said the fight is a snooze. Filipino-American columnist Val Abelgas described it as “the boxing dud of the century.” The Filipino Star News called it a yawner.
Some fans who paid good money to watch the fight on pay per view called it a scam, complaining they did not get their money’s worth.
The VIPs who paid thousands of dollars to watch the match at MGM Grand in Las Vegas might have also felt they were shortchanged. They exerted much efforts to buy choice ringside tickets.
Forbes magazine said that the real battle was not between Mayeather and Manny Pacquiao but among the rich few who wanted to buy the best seats at ringside. The VIPs who snagged the best seats were called “Lords of the Ringside.”
These people, who are billionaires and popular athletes and actors, included Rupert Murdoch, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Fox, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Kimmel, Stanley Druckenmiller, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Guber, Charles Barkley, Tony Robbins, Philip Green, Paul Tudor Jones, Lewis Hamilton, Steve Wynn, Beyonce, Jay Z, Mary L. Blige, Phillip Ruffin, Andrew Beal, Michael Jordan, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Les Moonves, Robert de Niro, James Packer, Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Mike Tyson, Michael Keaton, Donald Trump, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Kevin Plank.
Among the Filipinos at ringside were Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee, some of their children, a sister of Jinkee, Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson and former Bacolod City mayor Bing Leonardia, who carried the Philippine flag.
The glitter provided by the celebrities and VIPs at ringside did nothing to make the fight exciting as it should be.
We would not be surprised if the courts award multimillion-dollar damages to the people who filed the class-action suits.