By Lem Satterfield
LAS VEGAS -- Eight-division titlist, Manny Pacquiao, will never enter the ring opposite a fighter promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, said Top Rank Promotions CEO, Bob Arum, the promoter of the WBO welterweight champion.
At issue, said Arum, is the ongoing lawsuit filed by Pacquiao in December of 2009 that seeks compensatory and punitive damages for defamation of character and which names CEO Richard Schaefer and President Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, as well as Floyd Mayweather. Jr., the fighter's uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, and Floyd Mayweather Sr.
"We filed a defamation of character lawsuit in the federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada, against the Mayweathers, Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer based on their false and defamatory statements about Manny Pacquiao -- specifically their publicly stating that Pacquiao was taking steroids or other illegal drugs to enhance his performance -- knowing that there is absolutely no basis for any such assertions," said Pacquiao's attorney, Dan Petrocelli, at the time of the filing.
"We may be naming others as well, and may be adding others who have made comments since the lawsuit was filed. These guys have no right saying what they're saying. It's knowingly false, highly injurious," said Petrocelli. "Manny has an absolutely unblemished reputation, and accomplished extraordinary achievements through hard work and preparation. He can't sit by and allow people to accuse him of cheating because they can't beat him in the ring."
At the time of the suit, Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) and Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) -- whose past four bouts have been promoted by Golden Boy Promotions -- were tentatively slated for March 13 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
But Arum said that the "filing of the lawsuit effectively terminates everything."
On Thursday, in the press room at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Arum said that Pacquiao would not face a Golden Boy Promotions fighter, adding that he believed that Mayweather had severed ties with the company.
Arum is in town promoting Saturday night's defense by Pacquiao of his WBO belt against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM.
"Manny Pacquiao will never fight a Golden Boy fighter. Why will we not put Manny Pacquiao in with a Golden Boy fighter? Because they defamed him. They defamed a guy whose apiration is to be president of his country and a world leader," said Arum.
"They said that he cheated and that he took performance enhancing drugs with no basis at all. None at all" said Arum. "And they were the ones who started the whole thing. So, if you're Manny Pacquiao, do you want them to be involved with your promotion after they did a horrendous thing like that?"
Asked if he knew what Mayweather's current status with Golden Boy Promotions is, Arum said, "Floyd is no longer associated with Golden Boy. End of story," adding, "I don't know anything unequivocally, but I believe that to be the case."
The only way to salvage any potential relationship between Top Rank and Golden Promotions is for Golden Boy to issue a public apology, said Arum.
"Can they cure it? I suppose. I mean, they should get together and call a press conference and say, 'What we did was vicious and was uncalled for, and we apologize, this is not like us. Floyd Mayweather can do what he wants," said Arum. "There are ways to cure anything, but they haven't made an effort. Not one effort to cure it. The only effort that they made was to try to dismiss the case on legal grounds and the judge told them to take a hike."