Monday, January 4, 2010
Manny Pacquiao Officially Files Defamation Of Character Lawsuit Against Floyd Mayweather Jr
A senior attorney with the Los Angeles-based O’Melveny and Myers law firm, who gained a wrongful death civil conviction against O.J. Simpson in 1997, Petrocelli was reached within an hour of filing the suit.
“We filed a defamation of character lawsuit in the federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada, against the Mayweathers, Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer based on their false and defamatory statements about Manny Pacquiao — specifically their publicly stating that Pacquiao was taking steroids or other illegal steroids or other illegal drugs to enhance his performance, knowing that there is absolutely no basis for any such assertions,” said Petrocelli.
“We may be naming others as well, and may be adding others who have made comments since the lawsuit was filed. These guys have no right saying what they’re saying. It’s knowingly false, highly injurious,” said Petrocelli. “Manny has an absolutely unblemished reputation, and accomplished extraordinary achievements through hard work and preparation,” said Petrocelli, ” and he can’t sit by and allow people to accuse him of cheating because they can’t beat him in the ring.”
In what he calls “my last official statement regarding” these matters, Pacquiao, a seven-division world champion, addressed rumors concerning steroid use, his ability to gain weight, and his view of the drug-testing controversy which appears to have scuttled negotiations for his potential WBO welterweight (147 pounds) title defense against Mayweather.
“There seems to be concern from numerous members of the sports industry — from writers, to reporters, even other athletes, regarding why I am concerned with random blood testing,” said Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 knockouts).
“As I have stated before I have never used anabolic steroids nor do I even know what they look like. I view using steroids, synthetic growth hormone, or any other illegal or banned substance as cheating.
“I would never cheat this sport that I love. I would never cheat the legacies of the great champions I have been blessed to challenge. I would never do anything to cheat such great champions as Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, all of the Mexican warriors that I have been blessed to go into the ring and do battle with.”
Pacquiao and Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) were tentatively slated for March 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but promoter, Bob Arum, said that the “filing of a [defamation of character lawsuit] on Wednesday in the federal court in Las Vegas “effectively terminates everything.
“Dan Petrocelli, one of the senior litigating partners, has filed the suit in Las Vegas,” said Arum. “So this is serious stuff.”
Petrocelli said the suit seeks “compensatory and punitive damages.”
“No amount of money is specified,” said Petrocelli, “but given the damage that these people have already done, it would be in the tens and tens of millions of dollars.”
Potentially the most lucrative matchup in boxing history, the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout was expected to garner a career-best of nearly $40 million for each fighter. But negotiations became increasingly contentious since they began shortly after Pacquiao’s 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14.
Mayweather’s side had demanded that both fighters be randomly tested for drugs using urinalysis and blood work that could be drawn as close to the fight as possible, while Pacquiao had agreed only to random urine tests, contending that he would prefer not to have blood drawn within 30 days of the fight because taking blood from him that close to the competition would weaken him.
“My concern as a fighter is that there should be some limitations and agreements on how much blood they can take from someone prior to a fight. My other concern is how close to the actual fight itself can they take the blood,” said Pacquiao. “It is my opinion that taking blood from a person can weaken you. I do not want to be in a weakened state when I enter the ring against any fighter.”
Pacquiao was, however, found to have had blood drawn 24 days from his May 2, second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton.
“My concern has never been with someone randomly checking me with regards to blood or urine. I volunteered immediately to have my urine tested anytime someone wanted to — all the way up to the time I am walking into the ring,” said Pacquiao.
“It was later brought to my attention and the attention of my staff that you can not test for synthetic growth hormone through urine; you could only detect synthetic growth hormone through blood tests,” said Pacquiao. “Before all of these blood-testing and demands from other people, I had never even heard of synthetic growth hormone. I have never seen it before nor have I ever used it.”
The 31-year-old Pacquiao, whose career began at 106 pounds, attributes his ability to carry his power from lower to higher weight classes to the fact that “I eat foods that build muscle,” and, “I work out hard.”
“I take my training very serious. I train 30 rounds a day to be in the best shape during a fight so I can give the fans the best show I can. I eat very healthy — like chicken and fish and a lot of rice,” said Pacquiao. “In order to make these new heavier weight classes, I have to eat more then I have ever eaten in my life. I actually have to eat five times a day and bigger meals than I have ever eaten before.”
Citing “hard feelings,” Arum had said that he was prepared to announce New York’s newly-crowned, WBA junior middleweight (154 pounds) champion, Yuri Foreman (28-0, eight KOs), as the new opponent for Pacquiao.
“This thing [Mayweather fight] is hopeless. We feel that we’ve been trying, but that this isn’t going to happen,” said Arum, who also promotes Foreman.
“I think that we’re going to end up going with Foreman. Although it’s not official yet, that’s my position at this time,” said Arum. “We’re going ahead, I’m going to enjoy the New Year, and then, I’ll be back in Las Vegas on Saturday night. By Monday, we’ll have everything put together.”