Dream Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao Match Sinks into Swamp of Scandal


By Ivan G. Goldman

The post-fight stories about the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather extravaganza are moving fast and not terribly positive.

Various news outlets are busy quoting each other about the fact that members of the Manny Pacquiao team could be charged with perjury for failing to disclose his shoulder injury until fight night. Apparently he’d signed legal forms saying everything was hunky dory.

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Pacquiao did in fact furnish a list of drugs he’d been taking to alleviate the discomfort from the injury suffered about a month before the somewhat somnolent fight on Saturday night. The event inspired a buying panic among bidders for seats in the Las Vegas MGM Grand Arena and for access to the joint pay-per-view broadcast from HBO and Showtime.

All this is further tangled by the fact that some of the injury/drug facts were reported to the supervising anti-doping agency and some to the Nevada commission, and the two agencies seem to have a less than warm relationship.

In the largely uneventful contest, Mayweather won his usual points victory after confounding the Philippines congressman in round after round, using footwork, hand speed, and ring generalship to take control in the first minute of the first round.

Moments after the lopsided unanimous decision was announced, Pacquiao, who seemed almost hypnotized by what he encountered in the ring, said Mayweather “didn’t do nothing,” and that he thought he, Pacquiao, won the fight. His interviewer Max Kellerman looked startled, as though he were conversing with some guy who’d just claimed to be a native of the planet Jupiter.

Pacquiao later said he went ahead despite the shoulder injury because he didn’t want to disappoint fans. Seems like the reverse was true. Fans expected a genuine fight between two at least relatively healthy fighters. Two paying customers have reportedly filed what could eventually turn into a class action suit against Pacquiao and members of his team in federal court that alleges misrepresentation. The plaintiffs seek financial redress.

Apparently Manny is scheduled for surgery Thursday for a “significant tear” to his right rotator cuff. That’s no small bump or bruise.

This story is moving too fast to keep up with all the allegations.

It seems Mayweather is uncharacteristically offering a rematch. But reader Thomas McNeil, commenting on a Sean Crose story on this site, wrote that Pacquiao “stole fans’ money, coming in at opening bell injured beforehand” and that he wouldn’t pay to see a rematch.

Yes, but lots of fans said they wouldn’t pay to see this fight between two old guys that should have been fought five years ago. But boy, did they pay. Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring in from all over the world.

Floyd’s ex-girlfriend Josie Harris, who perhaps noticed that he could earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million for his Saturday night sparring match, is now, according to you-heard-it-here-first gossip site TMZ, suing him for slander in connection with comments he made about her. She’s apparently seeking $20 million.

Mayweather served two months in a Nevada jail for beating her up in 2010 in front of their children. He wasn’t living there at the time. That wasn’t the first time he pleaded no contest or guilty in connection with domestic abuse, and Harris wasn’t the first victim. Her son Koraun backed up her story and later called his father, Floyd, a “coward” for failing to own up to his actions.

Shantel Jackson, who was his fiancée for a time, sued him for alleged domestic abuse that took place after he did time for abusing Harris.

The new lawsuit by Harris, if it indeed exists, has once again penetrated the veneer of respectability the Mayweather team has been trying to construct around him.

The Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, so long in the making, had generally been cast as good guy against bad guy. But if Pacquiao entered the fight with one good arm rather than risk losing his paycheck, that scenario may not completely hold true.

Pacquiao, if he tried fleeing to the Philippines to avoid Nevada prosecution, would run into a vengeful government there that, claiming tax evasion, has been trying to strip him of his fortune for some time. One gets the idea that if he played ball with the ruling party those tax charges would never have been filed.

As a Philippines resident fighting in the U.S., Pacquiao’s tax situation is complicated. He’s not supposed to be subject to double taxation. Meanwhile, the IRS is also on his case. Which explains why lately he prefers to fight in Macau, China. But Mayweather insisted the “fight of the century” take place at the MGM Grand, a place where he’s never lost, and even though Pacquiao signed to take the smaller share of a 60-40 purse split, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

But what looked like a dream come true – the match everyone wanted to see – is now tangled in controversy, scandal, and legal posturing. So what’s new?

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