LAS VEGAS — A federal judge has ordered boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to pay about $114,000 for avoiding questioning from rival fighter Manny Pacquiao’s lawyers in a Las Vegas defamation case.
Attorneys for Pacquiao earlier lost a bid to end the lawsuit with a more severe sanction — a default judgment for Pacquiao.
But on Monday they won more than $113,000 in legal fees and $774 in costs for what U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks bluntly called “Mayweather’s obviously intentional decision not to appear for his court ordered deposition.”
Pacquiao, a Filipino fighter against whom the undefeated Mayweather is frequently measured, has alleged thatMayweather defamed him by suggesting Pacquiao used performance-enhancing substances.
Pacquiao has denied the claim. He filed the lawsuit in Las Vegas in December 2009 and has sought unspecified damages.
“Calling a professional athlete a cheater is the most serious charge one can make,” the lawsuit said. “Accusing an athlete of using performance-enhancing drugs — however baseless and lacking in evidence — is toxic.”
The two boxers have never fought in the ring, and the court saga playing out in Las Vegas has been seen as an impediment to a much-anticipated bout.
Mayweather lawyers Mark Tratos and Laraine Burrell in Las Vegas, and Pacquiao lawyers Daniel Petrocelli and David Marroso in Los Angeles didn’t immediately responded Wednesday to messages about the court order.
News of the ruling came at the same time Las Vegas police reported handing a residential disturbance call involving Mayweather at his daughter’s mother’s house last week. No one was arrested and no criminal charges were filed in the Sept. 9 incident.
A Mayweather business entity owns the property, according to county records, and Melissa Brim, the mother of Mayweather’s daughter, lives there, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Brim on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Police found no evidence of a physical altercation, Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said, and no one in the house wanted to file a police report. Cassell called the case closed.
With no police report, an aide to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the incident had no bearing on an unrelated domestic battery case for which Mayweather served two months this summer in a Las Vegas jail. He was released Aug. 3, and is not currently on probation.
Mayweather pleaded guilty last December to reduced misdemeanor charges stemming from a hair-pulling, arm-twisting attack on another former girlfriend, Josie Harris, while two of their three children watched. Harris and the children now live in the Los Angeles area.
— Associated Press