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Lawsuits filed after “Fight of the Century”

Whether consumers are buying a product or tuning in to a sporting event, they expect a fair deal for their money. When those they are purchasing a product or service from fail to uphold their end of the bargain, business litigation can result. This appears to have been the case over the much-anticipated “Fight of the Century” between professional boxing champions Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, which took place in Las Vegas on May 2, 2015.

According to people filing numerous lawsuits, Mr. Pacquiao, his manager, the fight promoters and other entities allegedly committed fraud by not disclosing a shoulder injury that Mr. Pacquiao had received prior to the fight. At least 13 class-action lawsuits have been filed so far in Nevada, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The plaintiffs claim that the “product” was negatively affected, stating that if fans had known of the injury beforehand, they would most likely not have been as interested in the fight. Some of the lawsuits also name Mr. Mayweather and his team, HBO, Showtime and numerous pay-per-view providers.

The plaintiffs say that deceptive trade practices were violated when those involved in the fight concealed Mr. Pacquiao’s injury. In a form filed with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Mr. Pacquiao stated that he did not have any injuries to his arms or shoulders requiring treatment, although his team later said that he had been receiving treatment for the shoulder injury before the fight.

Combined, the lawsuits are seeking damages in excess of $5 million, and some ask that ticket buyers, pay-per-view customers and gamblers be compensated. The defense has stated that the lawsuits are frivolous.

These lawsuits provide an interesting example of different ways that consumer law can be interpreted to protect the interests of purchasers.

Source: ESPN, “Manny Pacquiao, promoters peppered with lawsuits,” Darren Rovell, May 7, 2015

John P. Aldrich
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