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Manny Pacquiao loses legal case with Paradigm, ordered to pay $5.1 M to US firm; boxing icon pursuing legal remedies

By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor

LOS ANGELES/MANILA – Filipino world boxing icon Emmanuel Manny” Pacquiao is facing another setback.

After his defeat during last year’s presidential elections, the boxing legend and former Senator lost in a civil suit filed by a United States-based management firm.

This as a California jury awarded $5.1 million (approximately P282 million) to Paradigm Sports Management (PSM) founded by Iraqi-American promoter Audie Attar in the civil lawsuit Paradigm had filed against Pacquiao for alleged breach of contract, according to  ABS-CBN North America correspondent Steve Angeles in a tweet and report and reports of US and Manila-based media.

Pacquiao flew to Los Angeles last week with his wife Jinkee and  testified during the trial of the case before a California Superior Court in Los Angeles. He claimed the lawsuit should be junked alleging Paradigm had breached its contract with him as it failed to live up to their commitments with fights or endorsements.

But by 9-3 vote by the jury, Paradigm was awarded $5.1 million in damages, according to a report by ABS-CBN News’  Steve Angeles on May 3.

Neither Pacquiao nor Paradigm CEO and founder Audie Attar who had testified weeks earlier were present in the courtroom as the jury handed in their verdict.

Pacquiao had filed a cross-complaint in the same court against Paradigm Sports in which he accused Paradigm of breach of conduct, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud, among other allegations, but it was not known what was the decision reached on the complaint.

“Manny Pacquiao’s cross-complaint filed reveals in detail the complete sham nature of Paradigm’s complaint,” Pacquiao attorney Dale Kinsella said in a statement after the filing in August 2021.

Pacquiao, whose assets were estimated at $220 million and is ranked No. 8 in Forbes list of highest-paid athletes of the last decade (2010 to 2019) with total earnings of $435 million, “and his lawyers said there is no final judgement on the case as they pursue legal remedies against the jury’s ruling.

“The decision is still being reviewed by my US lawyers as there is no final judgment yet on the case. While I respect the decision of the jury, I feel that our position on this case was not fully appreciated so I am definitely pursuing other legal remedies so that truth and justice will prevail,” said Pacquiao in a statement on May 4.

Pacquiao’s counsel Atty. Jason Aniel of Haight Brown & Bonesteel, LLP, said that a final judgment has not been entered.

“The court has scheduled a hearing in June and there are still legal issues that need to be addressed before the case is fully resolved. We look forward to the final decision of the court,” Atty. Aniel said.

Judge Walter Schwarm presided over the trial of the case atn Superior Court of California in Orange County.

According to the lawsuit, Paradigm claimed that Pacquiao committed a breach of contract when he concealed his preexisting agreement with another promotional company, TGB Promotions, which hindered PSM’s efforts in arranging a fight for him.

During closing arguments, Paradigm’s counsel Judd Bernstein claimed that Pacquiao made it impossible for the company to successfully fulfill its duties.

Paradigm alleged that Pacquiao concealed his pre-existing agreements with TGB Promotions and that other people interfered with their efforts to secure a fight.

Pacquiao signed with Paradigm Sports in February 2020, a move that put him in a position to face UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a mega-bout, as the Irish fighter is also represented by the agency. However, plans for that fight fizzled out when McGregor lost to Dustin Poirier last February.

Bernstein said Pacquiao’s alleged breach of contract caused them to lose $22 million in revenue, on top of the $3.3-million advance payment they gave him.

Pacquiao’s camp had said he was taken advantage of by Paradigm.

Reports stated that  Pacquiao had claimed that Paradigm “falsely promised” that it would arrange a mega fight between him and McGregor which never materialized.

Paradigm  had staged the “Money Fight” between McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in 2017 which generated $600 million in revenues, the biggest money fight in history after the Pacquiao and Mayweather face-off in 2015.

Pacquiao’s defense attorney Bruce Cleeland said Paradigm failed to deliver on fights, endorsements, and complete a $4-million advance.

Cleeland contended that Pacquiao did not breach his contract and had the right to terminate his partnership with Paradigm since those obligations were not met.

In Pacquiao’s countersuit that accused Paradigm of breach of contract, concealment, and misrepresentation, the jury voted 10-2.

The $5.1 million amount that Pacquiao has been ordered to pay PSM reportedly includes $1.8 million in damages and the $3.3 million advance PSM gave to the boxing legend.

Pacquiao entered into an agreement with PSM, which has in its stable Conor McGregor, with an initial plan to arrange a lucrative fight with the UFC star. The bout, however, did not materialize.

Instead, the eight-division world champion ended up signing a different deal to face Errol Spence Jr., who was then replaced by Yordenis Ugas due to injury. Pacquiao lost to Ugas in 2021 in what turned out to be his last pro fight.

In the trial, Pacquiao’s defense attorney Bruce Cleeland claimed PSM failed to live up to their commitments to the boxing star. But PSM countered by questioning Pacquiao’s credibility.

Pacquiao has not fought professionally since losing to Ugas, but instead figured in an exhibition fight with Korean video blogger DK Yoo in December last year. (Claire Morales True/cmtpr1962@yahoo.com.ph)