Pasadena Appeals Court Rules Against Boxing Fans Who Said They Were Hoodwinked Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight Promoters

Published : Monday, November 25, 2019 | 4:39 AM

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena has ruled that fans who were upset with outcome of 12 rounds of boxing between Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, 2015, dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” cannot sue the boxers, their promoters, and the TV channel that broadcast the match because fans “did not suffer a legally cognizable injury,” and “got what they paid for.”

But fans said they had been deceived all along because Pacquiao was injured weeks before the fight.

The ruling affirmed what the United States District Court for the Central District of California said in August 2017 when it dismissed all complaints related to the match.

The dismissal covered up to 16 consolidated class-action complaints, from up to 42 different lawsuits in numerous jurisdictions against Pacquiao, Mayweather, and their promoters and Home Box Office, the TV producer. The lawsuits were consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation or MDL by the United States Judicial Panel.

After the dismissal at the district court, the plaintiffs appealed.

The May 2, 2015 fight was one of the most awaited fights in recent boxing history, with fans paying from $1,500 per seat and up to $231,000 on the secondary market. Commercial subscribers paid up to $10,000 for pay-per-view access.

After 12 rounds, the match judges declared Mayweather the winner.

The plaintiffs alleged in the complaints that the boxers and the match promoters concealed the fact that Pacquiao was suffering from a shoulder injury sustained nearly a month before the fight. That fact was revealed only in a post-fight press conference, they said.

The plaintiffs immediately seized on the disclosure and filed putative class-action complaints alleging Pacquiao was “damaged goods,” and that the fight was a “magnificent con.” They said they would not have purchased tickets had they known of Pacquiao’s injury.

In the ruling issued Thursday, November 21, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen said both fighters were medically cleared to fight by authorized physicians before they entered the ring. Although the match “may have lacked the drama of the pre-fight hype,” Pacquiao also completed the full 12 rounds in spite of the injury, she wrote.

“Even though the license approach may not map perfectly onto the allegations in this case, we need not adopt that approach to conclude that Plaintiffs suffered no legally cognizable injury here,” the ruling said. “Whatever subjective expectations Plaintiffs had before the match did not negate the very real possibility that the match would not, for one reason or another, live up to those expectations.”

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