At least 32 class action lawsuits allege Pacquiao should have disclosed a shoulder injury to boxing fans before the fight, which Mayweather won by a unanimous decision after 12 lacklustre rounds that most fans thought didn’t live up to the hype.
“The fight was not great, not entertaining, not electrifying. It was boring, slow and lacklustre,” according to a lawsuit filed in Texas alleging racketeering, a claim usually reserved for organised crime.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of Flights Beer Bar near Los Angeles International 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.
Both fighters are each expected to earn more than $100 million while networks HBO and Showtime broke records, raking in more than $400 million from 4.4 million shelling out to watch the pay-per-view broadcast.
Those millions paid up to $100 each to watch the fight, and the lawsuits are seeking their money back.
A federal panel of judges will likely first need to decide if the cases from multiple states and Puerto Rico should be consolidated into one case. From there, a judge would have to decide whether to certify them as a class action or not.
What’s sought in each is the same: a jury trial and at least $5 million in damages, the threshold for federal class actions.
Representatives for Pacquiao and Top Rank Promotions, HBO and Showtime had no comment to offer on the lawsuits; neither did Mayweather Promotions.
Exhibit A for most of the lawsuits is a Nevada Athletic Commission medical questionnaire that Pacquiao signed days before the fight. When asked if he had any injuries, including to his shoulder, he replied: “No.”
However, shortly after the fight, his shoulder was injured enough to warrant surgery.
Pacquiao revealed for the first time in a post-fight press conference that he had torn his rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons) weeks before. The Nevada Athletic Commission denied him a pain reliever just hours before the fight when regulators first learned of the injury.
Conspiracy theories abound as to how many people knew about the injury and when, including claims in a few of the lawsuits that Mayweather had a spy in Pacquiao’s camp and the boxer targeted Pacquiao’s right shoulder during the fight.
Experts in resolving legal disputes doubt disgruntled boxing fans will be able to claim victory.
“They’d have more lawsuits if they didn’t hold the fight,” said Maureen Weston, director of Pepperdine University’s entertainment, media and sports dispute resolution project.
If a fight is what fans were paying for, the fighters unquestionably delivered, she said. Just because people didn’t like the show doesn’t mean they get a refund, added Ms Weston.