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The Fight of the Century has turned into the Farce That Launched a Thousand Suits. Unhappy boxing fans have filed 13 lawsuits (and counting) against Manny Pacquiao and his promotional team for not disclosing the fighter's shoulder injury before last weekend's title bout.
The litigation, some of it aimed at his opponent Floyd Mayweather and fight broadcasters, claims that, had viewers known about Pacquiao's torn rotator cuff before the fight, they wouldn't have ponied up the $100 pay-per-view fee. Do disgruntled fans have a case?
After losing to Mayweather by a unanimous decision, Pacquiao told reporters he couldn't fight the way he wanted to because of a shoulder injury, sustained in a sparring match during training. Pacquiao failed to disclose the injury on a pre-fight questionnaire, an omission upon which many of the lawsuits are based and which may lead to perjury charges.
Here's Bob Duncan, attorney for plaintiffs who filed a suit in Illinois:
"Our state has a law that prohibits concealing or misrepresenting material information with consumers and, within the context of boxing, Manny Pacquiao's shoulder injury is a material fact. Had our clients known that the underdog had a shoulder injury, they wouldn't have thought that this fight was worth watching."
Daniel Petrocelli, who represents Pacquiao's promotion company Top Rank, told ESPN.com allegations made in a Nevada lawsuit were "demonstrably false," and rumors are swirling that the injury was never an injury at all -- that it was faked as a cover story for why Pacquiao had performed poorly.
Either way, the plaintiffs are fighting an uphill battle. While some state consumer protection laws protect against deceptive trade practices and false advertising, the plaintiffs are probably not getting a refund any time soon, if at all. These unhappy boxing fans (or, more accurately, their lawyers) would have to prove the injury was real and not a ruse, and even then, it's not clear why Pacquiao would have any obligation is disclose an injury to the public.
And claims that news of the injury would've dissuaded viewers are equally dubious. After all, fans tuned in knowing Mayweather is a serial batterer of women and security guards who can't hack it in jail and Pacquiao is a tax cheat whose charity doesn't pay its bills.