Why Manny Pacquiao wants to sue Top Rank, others

The boxing star says Top Rank has not given his share for the live-streaming of his title bout against Lucas Matthysse in the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico

Roy Luarca

3:8:35am September 11, 2018

5:28:55am September 11, 2018

BIG BLOW. Manny Pacquiao, who defeated Lucas Matthysse to snatch the WBA regular welterweight title, is set to take legal action against Top Rank Promotions and other concerned parties. File photo by Mohd Rasfan/AFP

BIG BLOW. Manny Pacquiao, who defeated Lucas Matthysse to snatch the WBA regular welterweight title, is set to take legal action against Top Rank Promotions and other concerned parties. File photo by Mohd Rasfan/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao is initiating legal action against Top Rank Promotions and other concerned parties for their failure to give his share of the broadcast proceeds of his fight against Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

According to the 8-division world champion, Top Rank chief Bob Arum has yet to remit the money corresponding to the earnings for live-streaming of his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title bout against the Argentine in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The Philippine senator said, a March 27, 2018 contract between him and Top Rank stipulated that he was entitled to 85 percent share of the broadcast proceeds with 15 percent going to Top Rank.

Pacquiao is asking ESPN to produce documents needed to determine Top Rank's earnings from distributing the fight, which saw him stop Matthysse in the seventh round, worldwide.

Under the contract, Top Rank was granted the right to broadcast Pacquiao-Matthysse, but only in the "Territory," defined in the contract as "outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and their respective territories and possessions."

As such, ESPN, which has a contract with Top Rank to air Pacquiao-Matthysse, was not allowed to broadcast the fight inside these areas. 

Because of what Pacquiao feels as a glaring violation, his legal team sent a letter to Top Rank. The senator's lawyers said Top Rank refused to pay. 

Instead, Top Rank – claiming that the contract was amended in early July 2018 – has sidestepped the legal implications of the situation, according to one of Pacquiao's lawyers.

The supposed amendment was intended to "contractually obligate" Pacquiao to grant Top Rank and ESPN the right for his next fight after Pacquiao-Matthysse.

According to Pacquiao's lawyer, the amendment incorrectly stated the "Territory" as included the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. His lawyer also said Pacquiao did not sign nor ratify the contract before the July 15 fight.

On August 10, Arum and Top Rank president Todd duBoef flew to General Santos City to ask Pacquiao to retroactively sign the amendment, but Pacquiao refused.

Top Rank told MP Promotions, Pacquiao's marketing arm which staged the fight, recently that they consider the March 2018 contract void as it was intended to broadcast by PPV only. Top Rank insists ESPN's broadcast of the fight was not covered by the contract.

This did not sit well with Pacquiao, who posted in his Instagram account: "[I] have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights."

 – Rappler.com