POSTSCRIPT / May 7, 2015 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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Alaxan didn’t help Pacquiao this time

IT SEEMS that last Sunday was one big time the vaunted Alaxan Forte pain killer advertised on TV by Manny Pacquiao did not do him any good.

Poor him. Not only did he lose to Floyd Mayweather. He might just lose also the glitter of his brand name and several millions off his purse for not disclosing his shoulder injury before he climbed the ring at MGM Grand for the “Fight of the Century”.

Manny as a pro knows the rules. But the ants working for him and the leeches living off him may have thoughtit better not to distract the fighter in training with an unseen detail.

So now there is the pileup of problems over disciplinary action, corrective surgery, possible perjury raps, damage suits of disgruntled fans and bettors, and the sorting out of the business mess.

Pacquiao did not properly inform the Nevada State Athletic Commission supervising the bout that he had an injury that could degrade his peak performance. The NSAC nixed his request for anti-inflammatory medicine (none of them Alaxan) on the night of the fight.

NSAC chair Francisco Aguilar said that on the day of the weigh-in Pacquiao checked the “No” box on the questionnaire asking if he had “any injury to his shoulders, elbows or hands that needed evaluation or examination.”

Had Pacquiao said “Yes”, Aguilar said, NSAC doctors would have studied what action to take, including prescribing medication. In an extreme case, a decision might even be made, in consultation with affected parties, to postpone the fight that was five years in the making.

• Why fans, bettors have reason to sue

WHAT is a little pain in the shoulder? Well, it so happened that its non-disclosure could give fans reason to feel cheated after paying record sums either for tickets in the MGM arena or pay-per-view. They could argue they did not get the promised “Fight of the Century”.

PhilSTAR reported: “Some of the coveted ringside spots in the 16,800-seat Garden Arena demanded up to $350,000 on resale site StubHub while a record $300 million or more is expected in PPV revenue from at least three million customers who paid $100 to watch.

“The fight drew a crowd of 16,507 at the MGM Grand, and these people paid big bucks – from $1,500 to $7,500 for the tickets and even more in the black market. On pay-per-view it was $100 per household.”

The scorecards showed that Pacquiao was outpunched by Mayweather, the runaway winner who boxed like he knew of the bum right shoulder. For whatever reasons, there was some booing in the sellout crowd.

The injury was reportedly sustained in sparring last April 4. Pacquiao had also been quoted as saying it was an old damage suffered while jet skiing. This bystander believes it is the result of wear and tear on the 36-year-old athlete, preacher, congressman, among other persona.

We non-lawyers are wondering if Pacquao is liable for perjury (lying under oath) if it was not him personally but his representative who had checked the “No” box in the questionnaire.

A Pacquiao adviser, Mike Koncz, said he was the one who filled out the form and committed the “inadvertent mistake” of checking the “No”. Did Koncz the agent fully commit his principal Pacquiao as if he himself had answered and signed the questionnaire?

• AttyMac: Blame Arum, not Pacquiao

NOW that the dispute has started to have legal undertones, we turn to lawyer Romy Macalintal (our unwilling nominee for chair sana of the Commission on Elections). From his corner in Norwalk City, California, AttyMac said in an email:

“The report of possible perjury and claim for damages against Manny Pacquiao for alleged failure to disclose his shoulder injury before his fight against Floyd Mayweather should not be the main issue here.

“Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions that promoted the fight could be held primarily liable by the betting public and those who watched it at MGM arena and through pay-per-view for staging what could be treated as a ‘sham’ contest for not making a public disclosure of the said injury before the fight. Such disclosure would have changed the betting odds for the event which would not have been dubbed as ‘Fight of the Century’.

“As the promoter, Arum could be disciplined by the NAC under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 467.10 for staging a ‘sham contest’ or for being ‘guilty of an act or conduct that is detrimental to boxing contest.’

“While the NAC does not define the term ‘sham’, its definition under Section 279(d), Title 5 of Pennsylvania General Assembly could be applied, in that the term ‘sham’ may include ‘any contest in which either participant does not, is not going to or is unable to use or is prevented from using his best efforts and skill as a result of … a physical incapacity or disability.’

“As early as March 2015, ‘Arum already knew that Pacquiao was suffering from that right shoulder injury. However, despite Pacquiao’s limitations, Arum said he did not regret putting Pacquiao into the fight at less than full strength.’

“Arum also said that ‘the outcome of the fight would have been different if Pacquiao had been allowed an anti-inflammatory shot for his shoulder in the locker room’ and NAC’s disallowing it ‘made tonight (May 2 in Nevada) affected the outcome of the fight.’

“Clearly, Arum’s claim that he asked for the shot ‘days before the fight’ demonstrated the seriousness of Pacquiao’s injury. For this, Arum could be held liable for apparent misrepresentation or non-disclosure of a material fact since, even before the fight, Arum had been claiming that ‘there’s no doubt in my mind that Manny Pacquiao will beat Floyd Mayweather.’”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 7, 2015)

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