Manny Pacquiao

Legal Trouble for Top Rank and Manny Pacquiao Fights

| by Alex Groberman

In what is shaping up to be an ugly fight outside the boxing ring, Golden Boy Promotions is suing rival promoters Top Rank over racketeering and fraud charges.

In a 23-page lawsuit ESPN.com obtained, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is being accused of “purposely trying to hide millions of dollars” that the company allegedly owes Golden Boy. The funds, according to the documents reviewed by ESPN, were generated from three Manny Pacquiao fights that Golden Boy was entitled to receive a percentage from.

Golden Boy, which owns a portion of Pacquiao’s promotional contract, is looking for damages “in the range of $3 million to $5 million” according to Judd Burstein, the attorney currently representing Golden Boy. Further, because the lawsuit is being filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the damages would be tripled if Golden Boy is awarded the judgment.

Prior to even seeing the details of the charges levied against his company, Arum told ESPN.com:

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“Of course, it's not true. The lawyers will handle it. I can't be bothered with that. ... Our attorneys said it's a desperate act on Golden Boy's part and Top Rank is going to end up getting the attorneys fees."

In the lawsuit, Golden Boy alleges it is owed millions from Top Rank from Pacquiao's 2008 lightweight title bout against David Diaz, his 2009 welterweight title bout against Miguel Cotto and his March welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey.

On top of that, the lawsuit also alleges that Top Rank may use similar faulty accounting in Pacquiao’s upcoming fight with fellow Top Rank boxer Antonio Margarito on November 13. According to Golden Boy, its rivals have failed to report revenues from selected matches and then “falsely inflate” expenses in order to increase their overall bottom line.

While opinion on this whole matter has to be reserved until a legal judgment is made, this can certainly be considered another black eye for the entire sport of boxing. The claims made in Golden Boy’s suit are amazingly specific, right down to the dollar amounts, so dismissing it as “completely false,” the way Arum and his group are doing, is very difficult.

At best, this is a case of accounting miscommunication. At worst, this is a multi-million dollar fraud attempt by Arum’s Top Rank. Only time will tell which scenario is true.