By Lem Satterfield
Considering the events which transpired on Tuesday, the door has been opened for eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao to face fighters promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. In December of 2009, a lawsuit was filed by Pacquiao for compensatory and punitive damages for defamation of character. In the legal documents, Pacquiao named 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.
Pacquiao has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but in the lawsuit he claimed that De La Hoya, Schaefer, and the Mayweathers - "conducted a campaign in a set of interviews to make people think he used them."
On Tuesday, the legal case was settled, at least against Schaefer and De La Hoya. As part of the settlement, a joint public apology was issued by both individuals.
"Richard Schaefer and Oscar de la Hoya, on behalf of themselves and Golden Boy Promotions, wish to make it crystal clear that we never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance enhancing drugs, and further state that we do not have any evidence whatsoever of such use," their statement said. "Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters of all time, and we apologize if anyone construed our prior remarks as in any way claiming or even suggesting that Manny uses or has used performance enhancing drugs."
BoxingScene.com spoke with Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, to get his thoughts on the apology and what it means for the future.
BoxingScene.com: What are you thoughts on the apology finally being issued?
"I'm glad that the apology has come out, and it removes most of the animosity and the anxiety that existed. Without this statement, it was impossible for me to involve them in the Manny Pacquiao promotions. Now, it's at least feasible for that to happen."
BoxingScene.com: Does this have anything to do with Floyd Mayweather?
"I don't know what the reaction of the public is. I really don't know. And I don't see where it has anything to do with Floyd Mayweather because he's still a defendant in the litigation. So it has nothing to do with Mayweather. The morass gets deeper. Nobody knows anymore who is even involved with Floyd Mayweather."
BoxingScene.com: What can the public realistically read into this?
"Well, you know, looking at Manny Pacquiao, Golden Boy has at least one fighter who, down the road, could factor into a fight with Manny Pacquiao, and that's [WBC welterweight champion] Victor Ortiz. The statement of settlement frees that up and enables that to happen, with all other things being equal."