(CN) - Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. must pay sanctions for skipping a deposition in the defamation case brought by fellow pugilist Emmanuel Pacquiao, a federal judge ruled, adding that he may decide the case for Pacquiao early if Mayweather pulls any more stunts.
Pacquiao's $5 million lawsuit claims his reputation came under fire because Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya and several promoters accused him in the press of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Mayweather Jr. has asserted his own defamation counterclaims against Pacquiao.
After allowing Pacquiao's amended complaint to move forward in March, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks set a Jan. 31, 2012, discovery deadline.
But Pacquiao filed court papers in August accusing Mayweather of ducking approximately 24 requests to sit for a deposition, while continuing to accuse the Filipino of taking steroids.
Though Mayweather had refused to sit for a deposition because of an allegedly intense training regime, he was photographed at nightclubs across the country, dancing, partying and burning money, Pacquiao claimed.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Las Vegas refused to grant Pacquiao default judgment on the basis of Mayweather's apparent discovery misdeeds. He also refused to dismissal Mayweather's counterclaims, but warned that "any further failures by Mayweather Jr. may invite such severe sanctions."
"The court finds that Pacquiao has failed to establish any prejudice that would result from not issuing such drastic sanctions," Hicks wrote.
"Discovery in this action has not concluded and will not conclude until early 2012, providing the parties another opportunity to schedule the deposition," according to the brief decision.
Pacquiao will not leave empty-handed, however, since the court decided to impose "monetary sanctions related to the cost of the deposition, as well as attorney's fees relating to that deposition and the present motion are appropriate in light of Mayweather Jr.'s failure to comply with a court order and attend his deposition."
Hicks gave Pacquiao 10 days to file a motion for attorneys' fees related to the failed deposition.
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