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Thu Apr 17 14:58:30 SAST 2014

Mayweather and Pacquiao settling defamation case

Ken Ritter, Sapa-AP | 26 September, 2012 09:490 Comments
Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the US attends a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2012. Mayweather will challenge WBA super welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico for the title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 5
Image by: Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus / REUTERS

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are settling a federal defamation case in Las Vegas, clearing a key hurdle to a long-awaited bout between two top fighters who’ve traded verbal jabs for years but have never met in the ring.

Terms of the pretrial agreement cited in documents filed on Tuesday in US District Court in Las Vegas are confidential, said Malcolm LaVergne, a lawyer representing Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s father in the case.

LaVergne said documents filed under seal ask US District Judge Larry R. Hicks to dismiss the lawsuit, and that others involved in the case were preparing a public statement. Documents filed publicly said each side would bear its own attorney fees and costs.

“The matter has been resolved,” LaVergne said. “Any alleged terms of the resolution would be strictly confidential. Floyd Mayweather Sr. is very happy that this lengthy case has finally come to a conclusion.” 

Attorneys for the two fighters and Mayweather’s promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

The direction of the case took a turn against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last week, when the judge issued a ruling ordering him to pay about $114,000 in legal fees and costs for avoiding questioning under oath from Pacquiao’s lawyers.

Hicks faulted Mayweather for failure to comply with a court order. But he earlier rejected a bid by Pacquiao lawyers Daniel Petrocelli and David Marroso to end the lawsuit with a more severe sanction — a default judgment for Pacquiao.

LaVergne said on Tuesday he had no information about whether the court settlement means Mayweather and Pacquiao will meet in the ring.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., declined comment. His spokesman, Lee Samuels, said the company was not involved in the defamation case.

Nevada State Athletic Commission chief Keith Kizer said he wasn’t aware of any talks between the two camps about scheduling a fight. But Kizer said such a fight could set records for the highest purse, gate and number of cable television paid viewers.

A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight might eclipse the Mayweather super welterweight fight against Oscar De La Hoya that drew 17,078 fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in May 2007, Kizer said. Paid attendance was $18.4 million.

“Based on my dealings with the boxing public and boxing insiders, the proposed Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has as much interest as any fight I can remember in the last 20 years,” Kizer said. “I think this would be our first gate over $20 million.” 

Pacquiao, 33, a member of Congress in the Philippines, filed the lawsuit in December 2009 in Las Vegas. He sought unspecified damages based on allegations that Mayweather defamed him by suggesting he used performance-enhancing substances. Pacquiao denied Mayweather’s claim.

Pacquiao is 54-4 with two draws in 60 fights. He is due to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden.

Mayweather, 35, who goes by the nickname “Money,” was serving two months of a three-month sentence in a Las Vegas jail on a domestic battery conviction when he was named by Forbes magazine this summer as the highest-paid athlete in the world for 2011.

He is undefeated in 43 fights and was guaranteed $32 million for the May 5 bout during which he defeated Miguel Cotto.

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