The most talked-about fight in the past three years between Floyd Mayweather, Jr and Manny Pacquiao will now proceed.
However, it will not happen inside the ring, but outside. And of all places, it will take place inside a Nevada courthouse.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks said Pacquiao has sufficient evidence to continue his lawsuit that alleges Mayweather and others acted with malice by accusing the Filipino boxer in a series of interviews of using performance-enhancing drugs, ESPN reports.
"Moving defendants argue that Pacquiao has failed to sufficiently allege malice because moving defendants could not have known one way or the other whether Pacquiao had actually taken PEDs when they made the alleged defamatory statements," the order reads. "However, the court finds that Pacquiao has sufficiently pled malice in the amended complaint," the report added.
The preliminary stage of the case had been pending in court for several months before the U.S. district judge ruled that Pacquiao can proceed with the case.
Pacquiao’s lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, said his client’s career would suffer major damage if fans believed he used banned substances, Inquirer.net reports.
“Manny has an unblemished reputation and has earned all of his achievements through hard work and his natural-born talent and to call him a cheater is something he cannot and will not tolerate,” Petrocelli said.
“None of these defendants have had any evidence to back up the assertion that he has taken performance-enhancing drugs, because he didn’t.”
On top of Pacquiao's lawsuit, the undefeated boxer is facing several charges for cases ranging from non-payment of taxes and rent to assault in the state of Nevada.
On April 25, Mayweather is scheduled to appear in court on a battery charge arising from his altercation with a security guard.
Mayweather allegedly poked him during an argument on parking rules in his gated community.
On January 28, Mayweather will also have to appear in court on domestic violence charges emanating from his alleged assault on Josie Harris, mother of his children.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have been in talks at least twice in the past two years for a super fight that could fatten their bank accounts for at least $50 million each, but negotiations fell due mainly to Mayweather's demand for Pacquiao to undergo random blood tests all the way up to the day of the fight.
Pacquaio was agreeable to the test, but he wanted a testing window for the blood to be taken out of his body.
He claimed he feels weakened when blood is taken from him on a day too close to the fight.
On the second negotiations, Mayweather denied there ever was a negotiation between him and Pacquiao, which enraged boxing fans hoping for the mega fight to happen after promoter Oscar de la Hoya acknowledged the fight was close to being signed.
Millions of boxing fans around the world wish Pacquiao and Mayweather could finally face each other in the ring late this year or next year.
But with the many legal problems Mayweather is facing, hopes for what could be the richest fight in boxing history are slowly fading.
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