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Rift between Top Rank and MGM widening as promoter Bob Arum considers legal action

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A Floyd Mayweather/Corona Beer ad was hanging in the MGM Grand near the media center Thursday. (Kevin Iole/Yahoo …

LAS VEGAS – The dispute between Top Rank and the MGM widened Thursday when Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he will consider legal action against the resort that is hosting the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch Saturday in its Grand Garden Arena.

Arum said the actions of the last several days, when advertisements for the May 3 Floyd Mayweather fight with Marcos Maidana were plastered all over the MGM Grand with the Pacquiao-Bradley fight just days away, "shows what a poorly run company this is," Arum said.

Arum said he has spoken to his attorneys, Daniel Petrocelli and David Marroso of O'Melveny & Myers, about the dispute.

"Top Rank could have claims for breach of contract and tortuous interference," Petrocelli said. "But I need to sit down and go over all this with Bob before I comment any further."

Petrocelli said he just arrived in Las Vegas and plans to sit down with Arum.

The biggest issue, Arum said, is not that the MGM is promoting a fight for a chief rival, but that it's created a conflict among sponsors. The Mayweather-Maidana fight on May 3 is sponsored by Corona. Saturday's Pacquiao-Bradley fight is sponsored by Tecate.

The beer companies are bitter business rivals, much like soft drink companies Coke and Pepsi. Arum, who blasted the MGM and executive Richard Sturm on Wednesday, was still incensed on Thursday, even as MGM officials began to change out Mayweather-Maidana signage inside the resort and replace it with Pacquiao-Bradley signage.

But by noon, not all of the Mayweather-Maidana signage was gone. Yahoo Sports saw several Mayweather-Maidana banners in the casino, including one only steps from the Pacquiao-Bradley media center and close to the entrance of the Grand Garden Arena.

"A lot of wheels are going because the potential legal liability for the MGM is huge," Arum told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. "Why do I say that? Because what are Top Rank's damages if we're going to sell virtually all of the tickets? If that's the case, what have we been deprived of? Well, we have a sponsor – Tecate – who is being hurt here.

"Tecate has paid big money to us and to the MGM to have the signage with the event and they didn't bargain for Corona with Mayweather being all [over the building]. It's all over. I mean, this is ridiculous."

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An ad for the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in the MGM. (Kevin Iole)

Top Rank president Todd duBoef said he had been in lengthy discussions with Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, regarding his concerns over the Mayweather/Corona signage on property.

He said Murren agreed with him and was shocked it occurred.

"Jim and I have had ongoing communication about this," duBoef said. "He assured me this shouldn't have happened and that it won't happen again."

Arum said MGM officials had told him and duBoef when they were negotiating to bring the Pacquiao-Bradley fight to Las Vegas that the two large Mayweather/Corona images on the outside of the arena were contractual and would have to remain.

Arum said he didn't like it, but had no problem with that. His concern was inside of the hotel.

"We really wanted to go to Mandalay Bay [also owned by MGM Resorts] and they said, 'No, we want you here,' " Arum said. "So we stayed and they said, 'No other signs [for Mayweather or Corona]. Nothing. That's it.' You saw this place with everything for [Mayweather] all over. It just shows what a poorly run company this is."

Arum said the Mayweather/Corona signage inside the MGM Grand this week could lead to legal action.

"We've been injured in our relationship with [Tecate] and [Tecate] is going to look to recover money from us," Arum said.

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach refused to be drawn into the controversy.

"We've got a fight and I've got a lot more things to worry about than pictures on the wall," he said.

Yahoo Sports reached out to MGM spokesman Scott Ghertner for comment. Ghertner said he would talk with management to determine the company's response, if any.

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