PACQUIAO MULLS INITIATING LEGAL ACTION VS. TOP RANK
By Aquiles Z. Zonio
Mon, 10 Sep 2018
MAKATI CITY ? World eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is taking legal action against Top Rank Promotions and several others for non-payment of broadcast rights involving his recent fight versus Lucas Matthysse, as well as, for derailing his future fights.
Pacquiao?s legal team is now preparing all the documents needed in filing a case against Top Rank and several other individuals who until now have failed to settle their financial obligations for the July 15 fight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pacquiao revealed that Top Rank honcho Bob Arum has not yet remitted his share of the broadcast earnings for live-streaming the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight outside and inside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Under the March 27,2018 contract signed between Top Rank and Pacquiao, the latter is entitled to receive an 85 percent share of the broadcast proceeds while the remaining 15 percent goes to Top Rank.
In ?The Contract,? Pacquiao agreed to fight ?outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and their respective territories and possessions."
Such area was expressly defined in the contract as the "Territory.?
Under the same contract, Top Rank was granted the right to broadcast the fight, but only in the ?Territory.?
ESPN, which entered into a contract with Top Rank to air the fight, did not have the right to broadcast the Pacquiao-Matthysse bout inside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico.
The Pacquiao-Matthysse fight was broadcast, without Pacquiao?s permission or consent, inside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico ? a glaring violation of the terms of the contract.
Pacquiao dethroned World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight king Lucas Matthysse by scoring an impressive knockout win in the seventh round.
The bout, dubbed as ?Fight of Champions,? was staged by Pacquiao?s promotional outfit, MP Promotions.
Pacquiao?s legal team had sent a letter to Top Rank which until now has refused to recognize and address the Pinoy boxer?s concerns.
One of Pacquiao?s lawyers, who asked not to be named, claimed that instead of taking positive action to settle the issue, Top Rank ?has taken positions that are inconsistent and sidestepped the legal implications of the situation.
Accordingly, Top Rank claimed that the contract was amended in early July 2018.
The object of the amendment was to ?contractually obligate? Pacquiao to grant Top Rank and ESPN so-called first/last rights for another fight after the July bout.
Pacquiao's lawyer explained that the amendment incorrectly and inaccurately stated the "Territory" as included the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The Filipino ring legend never agreed to the sign the amendment before the July 15 fight and he never ratified it.
?Indeed, Top Rank acknowledges that Manny outright rejected it by signing a revision of the amendment without any last right of refusal. Top Rank knows that the amendment is a nullity, as it has repeatedly demanded that Manny sign it,? Pacquiao?s lawyer bared.
On August 10, 2018, almost one month after the bout, Bob Arum and Todd duBoef flew all the way from the US to General Santos City to ask Pacquiao to retroactively and without consideration sign the amendment with the first/last language.
Arum and duBoef returned to the US empty handed.
Just recently, Top Rank told MP Promotions that they consider the contract void, implying that it was intended to apply to broadcast by PPV only.
Hence, Top Rank claimed, the eventual broadcast by ESPN was not subject to any of the terms and conditions in the contract.
Pacquiao?s lawyer labeled this as a dubious proposition, since the amendment expressly stated that it was, in fact, an amendment to the contract.
The lawyer added that if the contract is void, then no one had the right to broadcast the fight anywhere, whether inside or outside the ?territory."
An excerpt of Pacquiao?s post in his twitter account claimed ?I have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus.?
Pacquiao concluded ?I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempts to restrict my future fights.?
The Filipino boxing great is asking ESPN to produce all documents needed to determine the net profits generated by Top Rank from distributing the fight worldwide.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Aquiles Z. Zonio.
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