Bankruptcy threatens to permanently KO Pacquiao

By Alex P. Vidal

“Bankruptcy is a serious decision that people have to make.”—Herb Kohl

IF he were young and still actively linked with Top Rank big boss Bob Arum, US$8 million could be “peanuts” for Manny Pacquiao.

He could pocket the amount even in cash advance in mega-million fisticuffs in Las Vegas.

He could earn the amount triple even if he fought in nondescript alphabet world governing boxing bodies.

Because he was Manny Pacquiao, the ring superstar and eight-time world champion in eight different weight divisions and desired both by shrewd and unscrupulous promoters.

In boxing, he was literally a putative “Money Pacquiao.”

But 44-year-old Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) is now semi-retired (he has actually “retired” two years ago, but, as boxing’s senior citizen, is now inching his way back to the square jungle even only in aperitif bouts).

And he reportedly lost a substantial fortune in a failed bid for the Philippine presidency where he landed third with 3,629,547 votes (6.86%) behind President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and second placer, former Vice President Leni Robredo.

Pacquiao had also reportedly poured millions of pesos to bankroll the candidacy of some relatives who, like him, have invaded the world of politics, in the previous election.

The boxer-turned-politician admitted he never received and accepted campaign funds from political donors.


Also, Pacquiao has stopped earning sizably (meaning in the million dollars bracket) since his last official world title transaction which he lost to Yordenis Ugas via 12-round unanimous decision in August 2021.

As a Philippine senator from July 25, 2016 until June 30, 2022, Pacquiao claimed he did not steal money from the taxpayers.

In other words, there was comparatively a drought in as far as his capacity to earn even at least one third of what he had amassed per fight in Las Vegas during his salad days was concerned.

It appeared there has been also a dry spell of income from commercial endorsements since he is no longer in-demand as pugilist.

Then came the gigantic financial disaster just when money has stopped growing in the trees: A jury in California has issued a verdict against Pacquiao regarding a breach of contract.

Ruling 9-3 in favor of Paradigm Sports Management in the civil case filed in the Superior Court of Orange County, California in the case relating to a representation agreement, Pacquiao was reportedly ordered to pay at least a total of $8 million.


Pacquiao did not operate in good faith and failed to disclose any other agreements he had, specifically any arrangement with TGB Promotions, argued the Paradigm.

Trial lawyer representing Paradigm in the case, Judd Burstein, told ESPN: “The biggest problem for him is he came into court and the jury unquestionably found that he had lied. I argued to the jury that he’s so allergic to the truth he needs an EpiPen anytime he gets close to it.”

Paradigm said in a release May 3 it is owed around $8 million after the jury’s verdict.

ESPN’s Ben Baby said Pacquiao’s legal team could still seek to have the verdict overturned and negate any potential financial judgment.

In a statement, Pacquiao’s lawyer, Jason Aniel, said: “The court has scheduled a hearing in June, and there are still legal issues that need to be addressed by the court before the case is fully resolved.”

Pacquiao’s duel with Ugas was part of the case’s central issues,, according to Baby.


Baby recalled that Pacquiao was initially scheduled to face welterweight champion Errol Spence before Spence was forced to withdraw because of an injury. The fight proceeded after Paradigm failed to secure an injunction to stop the bout, which was presented by TGB Promotions.

TGB Promotions primarily works with Premier Boxing Champions. Pacquiao had two previous fights under the PBC umbrella, 2019 fights against Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman, before he faced Ugas.

TGB Promotions was listed as an interested party in the case between Paradigm and Pacquiao because of the Pacquiao-Ugas bout.

“The reason that Paradigm’s attempt to get the injunction failed was, in large part, due to the fact that we had had an ongoing contractual relationship with Pacquiao which predated any alleged contract that Paradigm entered into with Pacquiao,” said Phil Weiss, who serves as legal counsel for TGB Promotions.

Baby said Burstein described Pacquiao’s dealings to ESPN as “underhanded.” During the jury trial, Burstein said evidence was presented that showed Pacquiao engaged in conversations with then-DAZN executive John Skipper, who was previously at ESPN.

Burstein said Pacquiao denied knowing who Skipper was despite a FaceTime call between Skipper and Pacquiao that was played for the jury.

Burstein also said that, despite obligations to TGB Promotions, Pacquiao accepted $3.3 million from Paradigm and declined a potential bout to face Mikey Garcia in May 2021, one month before the lawsuit was filed.

“We essentially argued that Manny Pacquiao was a liar,” Burstein told ESPN. “This was a credibility contest.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)