Pacquiao claims “non-payment” by Top Rank for US rights deal

Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao has accused Top Rank of failing to pay him his portion of a US media rights fee earned from a bout with Lucas Matthysse in July.

Despite splitting with boxing promotion Top Rank in March, Pacquiao is thought to have allowed the company to sell media rights for the fight in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Top Rank sold the US rights to pay-television broadcaster ESPN in a one-off deal separate from its exclusive seven-year agreement with ESPN+.

Reports in the Philippines say Pacquiao is seeking 85 per cent of the US media-rights revenue earned from the Matthysse fight. Pacquiao himself wrote that he is “initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights”.

Roy Luarca, a Filipino journalist close to Pacquiao, reports that Pacquiao’s legal team wants to see ESPN’s rights agreement with Top Rank to determine how much he is owed.

Luarca says Top Rank disputes Pacquiao’s interpretation of the media rights agreement between the boxer and the promotion, and that Top Rank believes Pacquiao’s complaint is based on an outdated set of contract terms that would only have been valid if the fight was shown on pay-per-view.

Pacquiao’s legal team insists these terms were valid, and that no amendment to the contract was signed by Pacquiao either before or after his fight with Matthysse.

Pacquiao’s fight was not shown on pay-per-view in the US and was included as part of an ESPN+ subscription, which costs $4.99 per month. An ESPN spokesperson said the dispute “is not theirs to comment on”.