Manny Pacquiao scored a knockout in time to preserve a blockbuster fight.
The former eight-division champion was deemed free and clear to move forward with his upcoming challenge of unified WBC/IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. A motion filed by Paradigm Sports and its founder/combat sports manager Audie Attar to block the upcoming title fight was rejected Friday by the Orange County Superior Court. The ruling—while not outright dismissing the breach of contract lawsuit filed with the same court— allows Pacquiao and Spence to move forward with their August 21 title fight, which will air live on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“As Senator Pacquiao correctly said after this lawsuit was filed in June, he has an absolute right to participate in the August 21 bout with Errol Spence,” Dale Kinsella, lead attorney for Pacquiao declared in a prepared statement to BoxingScene.com and other outlets on Friday. “Today the Court agreed and resoundingly rejected Paradigm’s injunction publicity stunt in a strong and detailed decision.
“Senator Pacquiao looks forward to his bout with Mr. Spence on August 21.”
Pacquiao was forced to sweat out a previously filed lawsuit by Paradigm Sports, alleging that the legendary Filipino southpaw was advanced $3.3 million for business arrangements that never transpired. Paradigm—whose legal team is headed by well-known boxing attorney Judd Burstein—has also filed an injunction seeking to block Pacquiao-Spence.
“[The] Paradigm Sports lawsuit against me has no merit,” Pacquiao previously told BoxingScene.com in a statement through his MP Promotions. “I have an absolute right under the agreement with Paradigm to engage in the upcoming bout with Errol Spence.”
Paradigm alleged a four-fight deal in place with Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) in place since last February prevented the full-time Philippines Senator and returning boxing superstar to proceed with his pro career without the company’s involvement. According to the complaint filed earlier this summer, part of the four-fight deal included a showdown with former four-division titlist Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30KOs. Paradigm expected Pacquiao to make the announcement earlier this spring.
Instead came the surprise reveal that Pacquiao was aiming for the unbeaten Spence (27-0, 21KOs), with the bout confirmed through a social media announcement from both fighters in late May. The news confirmed Pacquiao’s first fight since a July 2019 win over then-unbeaten Keith Thurman atop a Fox Sports PPV event from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The surprise move by Pacquiao left Paradigm and Attar to take action to protect their investment for what they believed was a binding agreement.
Their actions were immediately met with resistance from Pacquiao’s legal team, who never doubted that the fight with Spence would move forward as planned.
“If this frivolous lawsuit continues, I will be proven correct in court,” vowed Pacquiao, his words proving prophetic as he filed a counter lawsuit.
The complaint and efforts to block the fight required a Motion to Intervene filing by Tom Brown, head of TGB Promotions—who serves as lead promoter of the event—after the company’s involvement was questioned by Paradigm, dismissing the company as a sham promoter and with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) actually taking the promotional lead.
Judge Walter Schwarm issued a tentative ruling on Thursday, granting Brown’s motion to intervene.
“TGB has a direct and immediate interest in Plaintiff’s fourth cause of action for declaratory relief and in any injunctive relief Plaintiff may seek,” Schwarm stated in the tentative ruling, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “That is, the requested injunctive relief will impact Intervenor’s ability to proceed with the fight it has organized. It does not appear that the proposed intervention will enlarge the issues. Finally, the reasons for intervention outweigh any opposition because of Plaintiff’s requested injunctive relief.
“Thus, the court GRANTS the Motion as to permissive intervention.”
Pacquiao has won titles at flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight. A win on August 21 will give him a fifth title reign, only adding to his Hall of Fame resume and growing status as an all-time great.
Spence remains a betting favorite to make the sixth defense of at least one welterweight title, having held the IBF belt since an eleventh-round knockout of Kell Brook in May 2019. Spence added the WBC title following a thrilling twelve-round split decision win over Shawn Porter in their September 2019 unification bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The win came two weeks before Spence sustained career-threatening injuries in a single car crash. The Texas native was out of the ring for 14 months between the healing process and the pandemic before returning last December in a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Danny Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox