Manny Pacquiao may be planning a boxing match under the RIZIN banner later this year but his next fight will come in a courtroom.
A lawsuit filed by Paradigm Sports against the legendary boxer is set to go to trial on March 3 in Orange County, Calif. over an alleged breach of contract. The lawsuit filed back in 2021 was attempting to recoup a $3.3 million payment made to Pacquaio as well as seeking an injunction to stop a fight he had scheduled against Errol Spence Jr.
Paradigm Sports, led by CEO Audie Attar, signed Pacquiao as a client in 2020 but the relationship soured rather quickly with the lawsuit filed just one year later.
On Wednesday, Attar released a statement regarding the upcoming trial that will be heard by Judge Walter P. Schwarm with Paradigm represented in court by attorney Judd Burstein.
“Manny’s days of thumbing his nose at our contractual rights are almost at an end,” Attar said in the statement. “We have an overwhelming case against him and look forward to justice being served. The court has already entered an order stating that – due to his consistent violation of court orders – Pacquiao is now deemed to have admitted that he breached his contract with Paradigm and that Paradigm has suffered more than $20 million in damages.
“If any promoters, managers, fighters or broadcasting networks are considering entering into an agreement with Manny prior to the trial, they are now on notice that Paradigm will immediately commence an action against them for tortious interference with contract and seek both an injunction and damages. Once Paradigm wins at trial in March, we will cut off 100-percent of Manny’s opportunities to earn money in the United States from any source because any revenue he generates will be attached to his judgment. Additionally, Paradigm will aggressively pursue enforcement of its judgment in any foreign country where Manny seeks to fight.”
When the original lawsuit was filed, Paradigm — an agency that also represents UFC superstar Conor McGregor — alleged that the agency had set up a fight between Pacquiao and four-division boxing champion Mikey Garcia. The deal fell apart after Pacquiao’s business associates including longtime advisor Sean Gibbons and Winchell Campos ended up doing a separate deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions for the fight with Spence.
The fight never actually happened after Spence suffered an injury but Pacquiao did end up competing that August in a losing effort against Yordenis Ugas in what ultimately served as the final fight of his professional career. Pacquiao announced his retirement just over one month later.
While he’s no longer competing professionally, Pacquiao — much like former rival Floyd Mayweather — now competes in the lucrative business of exhibition bouts. He’s already competed in one exhibition bout this past December before announcing that he had signed a deal to hold another bout in Japan after reaching an agreement with RIZIN.
Obviously, Paradigm hopes for a legal resolution that would prevent Pacquiao from competing anywhere for the time being, although the 44-year-old fighter had previously disputed the merits of the lawsuit when he filed a cross complaint via his attorney Dale Kinsella.
“Manny Pacquiao’s cross complaint filed today reveals in detail the complete sham nature of Paradigm’s complaint,” Kinsella said in 2021. “We look forward to exposing Paradigm’s conduct in front of a jury and recovering both general and punitive damages.”
Now it appears the two sides will seek closure through the upcoming trial slated to begin in March.