A group of Illinois residents have stepped into the ring to join their names to a growing list of class action suits against the promoters and media distributors of the recent middleweight boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, alleging the promoters deceived and defrauded the public when they went ahead with the fight and the associated sale of pay-per-view television packages while allegedly concealing knowledge of Pacquiao’s purported shoulder injury prior to the fight.
On May 5, David P. Gomez, Peter Gomez, Susana Medina and Robert Martinez filed suit in federal court in Chicago against Las Vegas-based fight promoters Top Rank Inc., boxers Pacquiao and Mayweather, television networks HBO and Showtime, as well as pay television providers AT&T, Comcast and DirecTV, among others.
They are represented in the action by attorneys Robert R. Duncan, of the Duncan Law Group LLC; Thomas C. Cronin, of Cronin & Co.; and Michael S. Agruss, of the Agruss Law Firm LLC, all of Chicago.
The plaintiffs asked the court in their complaint to award damages on behalf of a class including all of the people who ordered pay-per-view TV packages, which the complaint estimates cost between $89-$100 each, to view the May 2 fight. At a minimum, the complaint asks the court to certify a class including all Illinois viewers who purchased the TV package for the match.
While the complaint does not specify the requested damages amount, it indicates the potential class could have lost more than $300 million as a result of the alleged actions of the boxers, fight promoters and media companies.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege counts of consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, unjust enrichment and negligent misrepresentation against the defendants.
The complaint is one of several class action suits filed in Nevada, California and elsewhere against the fight promoters over the match and Pacquiao’s injury. One of the complaints in California refers to the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight as “The Sleight of the Century.”
Noted as the two best boxers in their class for years, Mayweather and Pacquiao had never fought. That changed this spring, when the boxers announced “The Fight of the Century” had been scheduled in Las Vegas.
The complaint alleges the promoters and media companies pulled no punches in promoting and marketing the fight to an eager audience of boxing fans.
Mayweather ultimately won the fight by unanimous decision before a huge audience at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and on television, as potentially millions of cable and satellite TV customers bought the pay-per-view broadcast.
However, in the days following the fight, Pacquiao revealed he entered the fight suffering from an injury to his right arm, which the complaint indicates left that arm at only 60 percent of its functional abilities, making it all but impossible for Pacquiao to defeat Mayweather.
The complaint alleges Pacquiao and the fight promoters were aware of the injury as early as April 4, while Pacquiao was training for the match.
Yet, the complaint alleges, the boxers, promoters and others associated with the match moved to conceal knowledge of the injury to protect the profitability of the fight and the associated pay-per-view opportunities.
“Stated simply, the damages include the obvious fact that (the pay-per-view purchasers) have been the victim of a ‘bait-and-switch’ – they thought they were genuinely buying an opportunity to view an extraordinary sporting event when, in fact, there were key facts that undermined the integrity of the fight and the value of (their) purchase to view that fight,” the complaint states.