Friday, March 27, 2009


It is saddening that the so-called "People's Champ," Manny Pacquiao, almost embroiled himself in a legal battle with Solar Films or ABS-CBN just a little over a month before his much awaited bout with "Triggerman" Ricky Hatton this coming May. If any, it must be the continuing public support and upcoming fight of Pacquiao that have stayed the hands of either company in pursuing a legal action against him. Besides, it would be bad publicity.

Despite the unfavorable opinions Pacquiao got from some commentators and sports writers about his attempted break away from Solar Films and failed partnership with ABS-CBN for the exclusive coverage of his fight with Hatton, I am still inclined to give Pacquiao the benefit of the doubt. Without meaning to put down Pacquiao, the man never really got a decent education, let alone a training in the intricacies of contract law. Even top executives with MBAs from well-known universities constantly seek the advice and guidance of their lawyers in contractual matters, which brings me to the point I would like to make. Manny Pacquiao would not have broken his contractual obligation with Solar Films were it not for the advice of his lawyers.

It does not take a lot of thinking to understand that Pacquiao has been in the thick of a gruelling training for these past few months in preparation for his fight with Hatton. As would probably be the case during this period, the legal, administrative and marketing aspects of his career would normally be taken cared of by his support staff. I do not pretend to know the way things work at the Pacquiao camp, but I would surmise this is pretty much how they would be done. Pacquiao, therefore, would rely heavily on his people to address these other concerns. Meantime, he would concentrate on his training.

It is safe to assume that Pacquiao, occupied with his training, has relied on his lawyers about the propriety of breaking his conract with Solar and inking another one with ABS-CBN. Whether it was someone from ABS-CBN who urged him to form a partnership with the network and whether this network's lawyers advised him of loopholes in his contract with Solar, ultimately Pacquiao would have to ask his lawyers if such move could be done. To say that Pacquiao's lawyers made a mistake for letting him get into a legally questionable transaction is putting it mildly. Screwing up is more like it, and for this firing them and getting competent ones should seriously be considered by Pacquiao.

As I write this, it seems though that Pacquiao continues to employ the same incompetent staff that he has, for he continues to make public statements that serve no purpose but stoke the fire and keep it burning. The best thing for him to do is to keep quiet about this already and concentrate on his training. Focus on the upcoming fight and let this fiasco die down.

It is obvious in all these that Pacquiao has been caught in the ugly ratings war between GMA and ABS-CBN. Pacquiao has an existing contract with Solar for a block time coverage by GMA of his match with Hatton. ABS-CBN is clearly envious as such coverage will command huge viewership both in the Philippines and abroad. Even assuming that it was Pacquiao who approached ABS-CBN, the latter was duty-bound to do a due dilligence review of Pacquiao's contract with Solar before inking a deal with him. Now we do not know yet if indeed the Pacquiao-Solar contract suffers a defect, but with Pacquiao backing out of his deal with ABS-CBN just a few days after and honoring his committment with Solar, this tells us that the contract might be rock solid.

In its bid to outdo its fiercest rival, ABS-CBN failed to exercise propriety by immediately jumping into an agreement with Pacquiao. Never mind the collateral damage.

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