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UPDATE 1-Unhappy fans cannot sue over Mayweather-Pacquiao bout -U.S. court

Thu 21st November, 2019 11:16pm
(Adds comment from Floyd Mayweather's lawyer)
    By Jonathan Stempel
    Nov 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday said
boxing fans who felt cheated after learning that Manny Pacquiao
had been injured before fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. cannot
pursue class-action litigation because the 2015 welterweight
bout dubbed the "Fight of the Century" proved to be a letdown.
    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that fans
and pay-per-view subscribers who paid hundreds of millions of
dollars to watch a "yawner" of a fight "got what they paid for"
when Mayweather and Pacquiao stepped into a Las Vegas ring, with
Mayweather winning a unanimous 12-round decision.
    Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen said the plaintiffs suffered
no legal injury from Pacquiao's failure to reveal a
four-week-old injury to his right shoulder until three hours
before the May 2, 2015, fight started.
    She said letting the case proceed could fundamentally alter
professional sports by requiring athletes to disclose minor
injuries, which opponents could use to their advantage, or risk
a slew of lawsuits.
    "Although the match may have lacked the drama worthy of the
pre-fight hype, Pacquiao's shoulder condition did not prevent
him from going the full 12 rounds," Nguyen wrote. "Plaintiffs
therefore essentially got what they paid for - a full-length
regulation fight between these two boxing legends."
    Nguyen also noted a New York state appeals court had
dismissed fraud claims when Mike Tyson was disqualified for
biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear in a 1997 heavyweight
bout, because fans had paid to see "whatever event transpired."
    Mayweather-Pacquiao tickets started at $1,500 and fetched up
to $231,000 on the secondary market. Commercial subscribers paid
up to $10,000 for pay-per-view access.
    Hart Robinovitch, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not
respond to requests for comment.
    Defendants included Mayweather and Pacquiao, AT&T Inc's
 T.N  HBO unit, which co-produced the fight, and promoters Top
Rank and Bob Arum.
    "We are very pleased," Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Top
Rank and Arum, said in an interview. "The court established the
very important principle that while sports fans may be zealous
and passionate they do not have the right to sue because they
are disappointed in how a contest was conducted, or in the
outcome."
    Mayweather's lawyer Mark Tratos said the decision shows that
ticketholders get "no guarantee" they will like what they watch.
    HBO did not respond to requests for comment. It decided in
September 2018 to stop televising boxing.
    The Pasadena, California-based appeals court's decision
upheld an August 2017 dismissal by U.S. District Judge Gary
Klausner in Los Angeles.
    The case is In re: Pacquiao-Mayweather Boxing Match
Pay-Per-View Litigation, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No.
17-56366.

 (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; 
Editing by Matthew Lewis and Bill Berkrot)
 ((jon.stempel@thomsonreuters.com
+1 646 223 6317
Reuters Messaging: jon.stempel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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