Manny Pacquiao files defamation suit

Boxer Manny Pacquiao filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Las Vegas, alleging that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his father defamed him with their comments saying the Filipino star has used performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids. Pacquiao named the Mayweathers and his promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer as defendants.

In the suit, Pacquiao says the Mayweathers’ claims that Pacquiao used performance-enhancing drugs are false and that these claims are an attempt to destroy his professional reputation. “I can’t explain why these people are making these recklessly false statements,” said Pacquiao’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli. Pacquiao is asking for damages in excess of $75,000, plus punitive damages.

Pacquiao and Mayweather were expected to meet in a mega-fight March 13, but negotiations have stalled over demands by Mayweather for the fighters to have Olympic-standard blood testing. Asked whether the lawsuit would cause the crumbling negotiations to be entirely scrapped, Petrocelli said, “This is completely independent of whether or not the fight gets made.”

Schaefer told the Associated Press that the suit was expected because Pacquiao had been threatening to file one, but that talks continue over a possible Pacquaio-Mayweather fight. “Hopefully, we will know something in the next couple of days,” Schaefer said.

-- Barry Stavro BASEBALL

Duchscherer, A’s agree on contract

The Oakland Athletics have found a familiar face to be one of their front-line starters next season: Justin Duchscherer.

The right-hander and two-time All-Star agreed to terms on an incentive-laden one-year contract to return to the A’s after he sat out the 2009 season. Duchscherer underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery March 31 and later was treated for clinical depression.

The 32-year-old Duchscherer will receive a base salary of $1.75 million. The sides reached a preliminary agreement last week that was pending a physical to be finalized.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with second baseman Kelly Johnson on a one-year contract.

General Manager Josh Byrnes says he believes Johnson “will return to form after a down 2009 season” and “has a strong track record for hitting.”

Johnson hit only .224 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 106 games for the Atlanta Braves last season but batted .325 against left-handers and .368 (seven for 19) as a pinch hitter.

In the previous two seasons, Johnson batted .282.


Davis to skate at all five distances

American speedskater Shani Davis plans to skate in all five individual distances at the Vancouver Olympics in February and will not compete in the team pursuit.

U.S. Speedskating confirmed that Chad Hedrick has declined the Olympic spot in the 10,000 meters and that the spot instead was given to Davis, allowing him to race at every distance. Davis will not compete in the team pursuit, because he did not enter the U.S. pool of athletes by the Dec. 24 deadline.

This month, Davis had said he had no interest in the grueling 10,000 and was looking forward to racing in the team pursuit, an event he declined to skate at Turin in 2006.

The short-handed Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Shavlik Randolph with a hardship exemption from the NBA.

Randolph, who spent last season with Portland, brings the Trail Blazers’ roster to 16 players. The league has allowed the team two hardship exemptions because of a rash of injuries.

Randolph was waived by Miami earlier this season. He played in two games for the Heat, shooting one for seven from the field.