Showtime Sues Top Rank Over Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight

The pay network says Pacquiao's promoter breached an indemnification agreement.
Floyd Mayweather (left), Manny Pacquiao

The 2015 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, billed as the Fight of the Century, was widely seen as a disappointment. Now, a year after a hail of class action lawsuits followed the match, Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI) is suing Pacquiao's promoter Top Rank Inc. (TRI) for an alleged failure to live up to an indemnification agreement.

In New York federal court, Showtime filed the complaint on Wednesday. The lawsuit recounts that after the 12-round fight resulted in a unanimous decision in favor of Mayweather, Pacquiao admitted fighting with an injury. Because of this, Showtime (which along with HBO broadcast the fight) was named as a co-defendant in some of the lawsuits that followed.

"Under an agreement among SNI, TRI and others, TRI was obligated to defend and indemnify SNI," states the complaint. "But at the outset of these actions, it was manifest that SNI and TRI, which was alleged to have known of and concealed the pre-fight injury, had starkly different interests. ... At once, SNI demanded that TRI honor its contractual obligations to indemnify SNI and pay for SNI's own counsel to defend it in these actions because of the manifest potential conflict between them. TRI refused."

The complaint says that Top Rank insisted there was no conflict.

Showtime says it began "forging its own path" and obtaining dismissals of lawsuits against the pay-TV network. It now wants its legal expenses paid. According to the complaint, "As of May 12, 2016, $682,754.07, including interest, remains unpaid by TRI and due to SNI." 

This legal match may not be so one-sided.

The complaint says that last October, Top Rank threatened "to assert its own claims for indemnity against Showtime" premised on Showtime's representation that publicity materials in connection with the fight would not give rise to any claim of unfair competition. Apparently, Top Rank is now taking the position that some of the lawsuits over the fight contained allegations that would constitute a breach of Showtime's promises on this front.

Showtime is represented by Seth Lapidow and Michael Rowe at Blank Rome.

We're reaching out for comment from Top Rank's lawyer.

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