Pacquiao Hid Injury Before Fight, Suits Claim

           LAS VEGAS (CN) – Boxer Manny Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum fraudulently concealed the fighter’s shoulder injury before this past weekend’s title fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., several federal suits filed Tuesday claim.
     Staphane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran filed a class action on Tuesday in Nevada Federal Court, accusing Pacquiao, Top Rank Boxing and promoter Bob Arum of not disclosing injuries suffered by Pacquiao prior to the title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
     Top Rank “was one of the promoters of the ‘Fight of the Century’ and failed to disclose the injury to the Nevada Athletic Commission prior to the fight as required by Nevada law,” Vanel says.
     Vanel says Pacquiao and his promoters did not “truthfully answer or disclose the information” and “checked ‘No’ on the Nevada Athletic Commission questionnaire which asked if he had a shoulder injury.”
     Vanel, Rahbaran and other class members either bought tickets to the fight or paid to watch it on pay-per-view.
     The class “consists of potentially hundreds of thousands of ticket purchasers, pay-per-view purchasers and persons who wagered” on the fight and “were victimized by [Pacquiao’s and Top Rank’s] failure to disclose and cover up the injuries,” Vanel says.
     Mayweather won the 12-round welterweight title fight on a 3-0 decision, and Pacquiao and Top Rank say they did not hide the injury.
     “During training, Manny Pacquiao suffered a right shoulder injury. Manny went to see world-class doctors, partners in the prestigious Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, who performed tests and, in consultation with Manny, his promoter, and his advisors, concluded that with short rest, treatments, and close monitoring, Manny could train and, on May 2, step into the ring against Floyd Mayweather,” Top Rank said in a statement Monday.
     “Manny’s advisors notified the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of the shoulder injury and the treatments being proposed by the doctors during training and on fight night. USADA spoke to Manny’s doctors twice, investigated, and confirmed in writing that the proposed treatments, if used, were completely allowed. The medication approved for fight night was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Toradol),” Top Rank said.
     “This is boxing, injuries happen, and Manny is a warrior,” Top Rank said. “On his pre-fight medical form filled out earlier in the week, Manny’s advisors listed the medications that Manny used in training and the medications that might be used on fight night.
     “A few hours before he was expected to step in the ring, when Manny’s doctors began the process, the Nevada Commission stopped the treatment because it said it was unaware of Manny’s shoulder injury. This was disappointing to Team Pacquiao since they had disclosed the injury and treatment to USADA, USADA approved the treatments, and Manny had listed the medication on his pre-fight medical form.”
     Although USADA had been informed of Pacquiao’s injury, which media reports indicate is a torn rotator cuff, the Nevada Athletic Commission did not learn of the injury until about two hours before the fight, commission executive director Bob Bennett said.
     “We didn’t find out until about 6 o’clock the night of the fight,” Bennett said. “He allegedly had the injury four weeks before.”
     Although Top Rank reported the medications being used to the USADA, Bennett said there was no requirement to report them to the Nevada Athletic Commission because they are not performance-enhancing drugs.
     Bennett said the anti-doping agency is under no obligation to share the injury information with the commission and that it was up to Top Rank Boxing and Pacquiao to report the injury.
     “If it was two hours before the fight and the injury was significant enough, we would stop the fight,” Bennett said.
     But the commission interviewed Pacquiao and his doctors, who said the fighter was in good enough health to proceed with the fight.
     The commission did, however, stop Pacquiao from receiving a numbing agent shortly before the fight.
     Bennett said the commission didn’t want to risk Pacquiao suffering an injury from the numbing agent masking any pain, and that it would be better for him to feel what was going on in his shoulder so that he could stop if the condition got worse.
     The class action names as defendants Pacquiao, Arum, Top Rank, Top Rank president Todd DuBoef and Michael Koncz, who is listed as an advisor to Pacquiao.
     Vanel and Rahbaran accuse them of fraudulent concealment, consumer fraud and conspiracy to commit consumer fraud.
     They seek $5 million in compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs.
     Attorney Brandon B. McDonald represents Vanel and Rahbaran.
     Top Rank Boxing did not return a call seeking comment.
     McDonald was not immediately available for comment.
     Similar suits were filed in Los Angeles and Illinois.

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