More than a year after the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao megafight left most viewers disappointed, the fight continues, albeit outside the ring.
Showtime, which had Mayweather under exclusive contract for the record-setting joint pay-per-view with HBO, sued Pacquiao promoter Top Rank in federal court Wednesday.
Showtime is seeking $682,754.07 in legal fees for having to pay lawyers to defend the network against numerous civil lawsuits filed by fans upset that they shelled out a record $100 apiece for the pay-per-view telecast of a bad fight in which Pacquiao knew he was injured ahead of time.
The day before the fight, Pacquiao signed the standard Nevada State Athletic Commission prefight medical questionnaire -- which included a specific question about shoulder injuries -- on which he swore under the penalty of perjury that he did not have any injuries going into the fight.
But Pacquiao said after the fight that he had faced Mayweather with a serious right shoulder injury, leading many fans to feel defrauded.
Pacquiao said after the fight that he initially hurt his shoulder in training camp. He said he went into the long-awaited welterweight title unification fight on May 2, 2015, with the injury -- a reason given for his clear unanimous-decision loss -- and then had surgery days later to repair his torn rotator cuff.
The fight, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, set every revenue record imaginable, including for total revenue (around $600 million) and live gate ($72.2 million). It also set the mark for pay-per-view buys (4.6 million).
Showtime said in its lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.com, that Top Rank failed to meet its contractual obligation to indemnify the network in the event it was sued in relation to the fight. Showtime, which said it was named as a co-defendant in 12 of approximately 42 suits filed after the fight, is seeking legal fees it says it paid to defend the suits, plus interest.
"Showtime Networks [on Wednesday] filed suit against Top Rank in the Southern District of New York to enforce Showtime Networks' right to be reimbursed for legal fees incurred defending the many lawsuits filed relating to the injury sustained by Manny Pacquiao before his May 2, 2015 fight against Floyd Mayweather," a Showtime spokesperson said in a statement. "Showtime was dismissed from those litigations which continue against Top Rank. Showtime made every effort to resolve this matter short of the courthouse, but Top Rank's persistent refusal to honor its contractual obligations forced Showtime to take this regrettable, but necessary, step."
According to the suit, after Pacquiao admitted to being injured during the postfight news conference, "numerous punitive class action lawsuits were filed against Pacquiao, Mayweather and the promoters and networks associated with the event, generally alleging that Pacquiao had been injured prior to the fight, and that he and [Top Rank] had concealed the injury. [Showtime] was named as a co-defendant in a small fraction of those lawsuits, none of which contained plausible allegations that [Showtime] was aware that Pacquiao had suffered any shoulder injury prior to the fight."
Showtime said it was eventually dropped from many of the suits because while it had prefight access to Mayweather's training camp, it did not have any access to Pacquiao's and, therefore, had no idea he had a shoulder injury.
The suit went on to say that "under an agreement among [Showtime and Top Rank], [Top Rank] was obligated to defend and indemnify [Showtime]. But at the outset of these actions, it was manifest that [Showtime] and [Top Rank], which was alleged to have known of and concealed the pre-fight injury, had starkly different interests. ... At once, [Showtime] demanded that [Top Rank] honor its contractual obligations to indemnify [Showtime] and pay for [Showtime's] own counsel to defend it in these actions because of the manifest potential conflict between them. [Top Rank] refused."
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN.com that his lawyers do not believe there is a conflict and that the contract is open to interpretation.
"Our lawyers say that under the contract, they're not entitled to any indemnity," Arum said. "But when this came up, we made a proposal to Showtime and [parent network] CBS, and they said it was not adequate. I told them to come back with a counterproposal, and instead they filed suit. And then I told them that's not fair. If you're negotiating a settlement with me, you don't file a suit. And then they said, 'If you don't pay this in full, CBS and Showtime will not do business with you.' I said, 'What the f--- else is new? You haven't done any business with Top Rank in years.' They're trying to bully me.
"I didn't appreciate the threat. You sit down like normal people and you work it out."