The attempt by Manny Pacquiao’s manager to stop his fight scheduled for later this month against unified welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr. was denied in California Superior Court for Orange County on Friday.
Pacquiao, the eight-division world champion, and Spence are now free and clear to meet in one of the biggest fights of the year in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions Fox Sports pay-per-view card on Aug. 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports Management, who sued Pacquiao for breach of contract in late June, filed a motion last week seeking a preliminary injunction that would bar Pacquiao from participating in a fight with Spence because he claimed Pacquiao took the fight without his knowledge or approval, in breach of their management agreement.
Paradigm also was seeking repayment of a $3.3 million advance given to Pacquiao, who serves in the Senate in his native Philippines in addition to boxing, because it claimed he had breached the agreement in a variety of ways besides just taking the fight with Spence without consulting with Paradigm.
Judge Walter P. Schwarm issued a preliminary ruling denying the motion for the injunction on Thursday. On Friday, the sides participated in a video hearing to make their oral arguments on the case.
“The court finds the evidence demonstrates a low probability of prevailing on the breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing causes of action,” Schwarm wrote in the preliminary ruling, a copy of which was obtained by World Boxing News. “Thus, Plaintiff has the burden of showing a higher degree of harm. The court finds that the balance of harm weighs in favor of Intervenor and Defendant as discussed above. Therefore, the court DENIES Plaintiff’s (Paradigm Sports Management, LLC) Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed on 7-20-21.”
In making the final ruling following the oral arguments on Friday, Schwarm adopted and confirmed his tentative ruling from Thursday to deny the motion for preliminary injunction in its entirety with a written order to follow.
“As Senator Manny 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, Pacquiao’s attorney, said in a statement. “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.”
Paradigm Sports Management claimed in its suit that it had exclusive rights to negotiate Pacquiao’s next two fights and that it had arranged for him to fight former four-division world titlist, Mikey Garcia, this summer in Dubai for the $25 million purse Pacquiao was seeking. However, after Pacquiao promised on May 21 to sign the contract for the fight, he did not do so and hours later announced on social media that he was going to fight Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) on Aug. 21.
The 42-year-old Pacquiao, who has not boxed since his impressive July 2019 decision victory over Keith Thurman to claim a welterweight title he was later stripped of, had originally signed with Attar in February 2020. The key reason was because Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) claims he was promised a fight with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who Attar also manages and who had crossed over to boxing for a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2017. However, that fight did not materialize.
If the judge did not enjoin the fight, Attar’s lawsuit sought for the court to at least order Pacquiao to deposit into an escrow account “up to $8,125,581,” the total Paradigm asserted it would be owed from Pacquiao-Spence. That issue was not addressed in Schwarm’s ruling. The suit filed in June said Pacquiao agreed to pay Paradigm 10 percent of income received from his fights and 20 percent of income derived from marketing, commercial, and media contracts.
Paradigm attorney Judd Burstein told World Boxing News that while they will not appeal the judge’s ruling allowing the fight with Spence to go forward, they will seek to have an expedited final judgment made on the financial aspect of the lawsuit.
When Paradigm filed the suit in June, Pacquiao said in a statement it had no right to block the fight with Spence.
“Paradigm Sports’ lawsuit against me has no merit. I have an absolute right under the agreement with Paradigm to engage in the upcoming bout with Errol Spence. If this frivolous lawsuit continues, I will be proven correct in court.”
He was on Friday.