My Champion Clients

My Champion Clients
Clockwise from top left, Sam Soliman (the night he won the IBF Middleweight Title, May 31, 2014), Cory Spinks (the night he won the IBF Welterweight title, March 22, 2003), Paulie Malignaggi, myself, Johnny Bos and Jeffrey Resto (press conference NYC summer 2002).

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Boxing Podcast with Brin-Jonathan Butler Reviewing 2017 in Boxing

I had a chance to sit down with author and preeminent boxing journalist Brin-Jonathan Butler to review the year in boxing for 2017.  We spoke about the comeback of the Heavyweight division and the magic of Joshua-Klitschko; Top Rank bringing big time boxing to ESPN; recapped the best fights of 2017 and the positives that the World Boxing Super Series has brought to the sport.

To enjoy more of Brin's work, check out his critically acclaimed memoir of his time living in Cuba and training with Cuban Olympic boxing coaches, The Domino Diaries, as well as his biography of Guillermo Rigondeaux, A Cuban Boxer's Journey.  Brin's pieces have appeared on SBNation.com, ESPN.com, Vice.com, Salon.com, and Bloomberg.com, as well as many other sites and publications. To track Brin's goings on and latest work, follow him on Twitter at @brinicio.

Enjoy the podcast and Happy New Year!  You can listen to my podcast on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Judge Denies Bobby Hitz Partial Summary Judgment on Tortious Interference with Contract Claim Against Shane Mosley's GoBox Promotions

Shane Mosley (c/o Keith Hinle/Wikimedia Commons)

Federal District Judge Michael Fitzgerald, of the Central District of California, recently denied Chicago promoter Bobby Hitz's promotional company Hitz Entertainment Corporation ("HEC") partial summary judgment on its first cause of action for tortious interference with contract against former three division world champion Shane Mosley and Mosley's promotional company GoBox Promotions, Inc. ("GBP").

HEC filed its complaint in February 2017 alleging that Mosley had poached its fighter, Cruiserweight prospect Dimar Ortuz, to fight on GBP's PPV card in August 2015 that featured Mosley versus Ricardo Mayorga in the main event.  According to the complaint, Mosley had been a participant in a reality TV show called "Knockout" where he was one of three legendary trainers and he was designated to train Ortuz.  As HEC was negotiating with representatives from the show to enable Ortuz's participation, Mosley allegedly promoted an Ortuz bout on the Mosley-Mayorga PPV undercard.  Mosley and GBP also allegedly promoted two fights of Ortuz subsequent to the PPV card, without HEC's consent.  HEC claimed two causes of action, tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective economic relations.

According to HEC's partial summary judgment motion papers, Mosley and GBP initially tried to work with the "Knockout" show's producers to have Ortuz fight in the show's "finale" on NuvoTV as a free TV lead-in to the PPV.  But negotiations allegedly broke down and Mosley and GBP ended up using Ortuz on the televised PPV undercard instead, outside of the "Knockout" program.  HEC's papers further allege that Mosley and GBP were aware (via text messages to both Mosley and his partner at GBP, Trista Pisani) that HEC had a valid promotional agreement with Ortuz and went ahead and put him on their PPV card anyway, in breach of the promotional agreement and without the consent of or compensation to HEC.  HEC also argued that even if they breached the promotional agreement, Ortuz reaffirmed its existence and validity by signing a deal memo with the "Knockout" producers that acknowledged the agreement and by Ortuz posting on Facebook in December 2015 that he was finally free of the agreement.

In their opposition papers, Mosley and GBP argued that HEC waived its claims due to the fact they had breached the promotional agreement.  Mosley and GBP alleged that HEC had not promoted Ortuz in the requisite number of fights in any of the three years of the promotional agreement's term.  Further, Mosley and GBP argued that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding their knowledge of the existence of the promotional agreement (both Mosley and Pisani denied receiving the texts from HEC) and without knowledge there could be no intent to interfere.

Judge Fitzgerald agreed with Mosley and GBP that there was a genuine "dispute of material fact as to whether there was a valid, enforceable contract" when GBP promoted Ortuz on the PPV undercard.  The Court further found that there was not sufficient evidence to find as a matter of law that Mosley or GBP had knowledge of the promotional agreement or the intent to breach it.

See HEC's complaint below:
See Judge Fitzgerald's order:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Boxing Esq. Podcast #3 - John Hornewer

It was my great pleasure to speak with one of the premier attorneys in the sport of boxing, John Hornewer.  John had some amazing behind the scenes stories about his superstar roster of clients, including Lennox Lewis, Chris Byrd, Roy Jones, Jr., Floyd Mayweather and Vasyl Lomachenko.

I'd like to thank John for taking the time to speak with me and I wish him and Team Lomachenko luck against the very formidable Guillermo Rigondeaux this Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Please check it out!  You can also subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Demetrius Andrade Drops Suit Against Roc Nation

Demetrius Andrade (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Attorneys for former WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Demetrius Andrade have filed a Stipulation of Discontinuance in order to end Andrade's suit against Roc Nation Sports and other Roc Nation/Jay-Z related entities ("Roc Nation") for promissory estoppel and breach of contract.  No other details were available on whether this suit was settled or merely dropped.

Andrade commenced suit in July 2015, alleging that representatives of Roc Nation promised him $550,000 if he would turn down a fight with Jermell Charlo that was scheduled for December 13, 2014 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime.  The suit also claimed that Showtime was offering a lucrative multi-fight deal to Andrade which Roc Nation allegedly told him to turn down because they had a deal for him with HBO.  Roc Nation also allegedly promised to buy Andrade out of his promotional contract with Star Boxing and Banner Promotions.  Andrade alleged that he was not paid the $550,000 nor did Roc Nation buy out his promotional contract.

Recently, Andrade signed a multi-fight deal with HBO through his current promoters (Star Boxing and Banner).

Star Boxing and Banner have their own suit against Roc Nation that is still pending.  In their complaint, they allege intentional interference with their promotional contract, as well as tortious interference with prospective business relations based on the same set of facts as stated above.  They recently received an extension of discovery deadlines from the court in order to finish up depositions in the case.

See Andrade's Complaint and Stipulation of Discontinuance below:

Andrade's Complaint:
Stipulation of Discontinuance:
Star Boxing and Banner Promotions Complaint:
Star Boxing and Banner Promotions discovery extention:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fight Report: Kovalev Back to Krushing - Blasts Out Shabranskyy in Two



At The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Sergey Kovalev, 174, rebounded nicely from two controversial loses to the recently retired Andre Ward by winning the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight title belt with a second round poleaxing of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, 174-1/2.  Shabranskyy had spoken about working on his movement and defense before the fight, neither were in evidence on Saturday night.

In the opening round, Shabranskyy looked to back Kovalev up.  That turned out to be a foolhardy strategy as Kovalev worked patiently behind the jab and eventually dropped Shabranskyy with a roundhouse right.  Shabranskyy did not appear seriously hurt but shortly afterwards Kovalev unleashed another right hand that landed right on the button and had him down a second time.  Shabranskyy barely survived the round.

Kovalev patiently stalked to start the second and could not miss with either hand.  Soon Shabranskyy was down a third time.  After a vicious followup left Shabranskyy on very shaky legs, referee Harvey Dock stepped in to stop it at 2:36.

Kovalev improves to 31-2-1, 26 KO's and regains the WBO Championship.  Shabranskyy is now 19-2, 16 KOs.

Kovalev expressed interest in fighting all of the other beltholders now that Ward is retired.  He included a special reference to "Chickenson" - WBC Champ Adonis Stevenson, who has appeared to avoid him after initially accepting a fight.  It will be interesting to see if the winner of the co-main, Sullivan Barrera, will be face Kovalev next, now that it's for a world title belt.  Barrera declined to meet Kovalev on this card as he felt the offer to face the "Krusher" was a little light.

Barrera, 174-1/4, put in a workmanlike performance in decisively beating Felix Valera, 174-1/2 ,via unanimous decision over ten.  Valera was crying during his ring entrance and clearly fed off that emotion in the opening round as he exchanged with Barrera and caught him with a beautiful counter hook to drop him.  Barrera, now finding himself on the canvas in the first round for the second consecutive fight (Joe Smith dropped him previously), stayed composed and weathered Valera's followup and later in the first dropped Valera with a right hand.  Valera did not appear too hurt but the knockdown was legit.

In the second, Valera got a little wild and started clowning.  Barrera established his dominance in this round, even though he took a headbutt that caused a cut over his left eye.

From the third round on, Barrera took control as his conditioning and work rate were too much for Valera.  When Valera did land, he tended to go low, as he had points deducted in the third, sixth and eighth rounds and is lucky he did not get DQ'd.  Barrera also went low in the ninth and was deducted a point.  The fight went the full ten but there was no doubt as to the victor.

Barrera won decisively on all three cards - 98-88, 97-90, and 97-89.  He improves to 21-1 (14), while Valera falls to 15-2, 13 KOs.  Barrera's promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, stated afterwards that Barrera would be given offers to fight either Kovalev or young WBA Champion Dmitriy Bivol, who was in attendance.  If Barrera's track record is any indication, he will choose the offer with the most remuneration.

There was some real controversy with the decision in the bout between Jason Sosa, 131-1/4, and Yuriorkis Gamboa, 130-1/2.  It appeared to most in press row that Sosa had done enough to win, though it was a competitive fight.  

Gamboa entered the ring last and was announced last - even though he took the fight on last minute notice.  That seemed a bit odd.  Normally the fighter taking a fight on last minute notice would be the B-side.

The first three rounds were pretty even as both men landed good body shots.  Gamboa seemed a little busier but there was not much to choose between them.

In round four, Gamboa found his rhythm and clearly won the round with a stiff jab and combinations punctuated with body shots.

Rounds five and six were close but Sosa seemed to take control back slightly.  By the end of the sixth, Gamboa was tiring and holding.

In round seven, Sosa dropped Gamboa.  It looked more like a balance shot but this was clearly Sosa's round.

Rounds eight and nine, Sosa appeared to be a little busier and was getting in good body shots.  Gamboa was still game and trying to win but was clearly tiring and frequently clinching.  His lack of conditioning was starting to show.

In the tenth and final round, Sosa pressed and Gamboa held.  Referee Ron Lipton took a point away from Gamboa for excessive holding.  Not sure that I agreed with taking a point away in the tenth round when both fighters were tired but nonetheless that seemed to seal the decision for Sosa even though it was a competitive fight.

The judges disagreed - scoring 94-94 even, then 95-93 and 96-92 for Gamboa.  Having lost a point on the knockdown and another for excessive holding means that the two decisive judges gave Gamboa 7 and 8 rounds respectively.  The fight just didn't seem that wide for him.  Maybe this was payback from the boxing gods for the draw that Sosa got against Nicholas Walters that most felt he didn't deserve.

Regardless, Sosa falls to 20-2-4, 15 KO’s, while Gamboa improves to 27-2, 17 KO’s.  It looks like the Cuban 2004 Gold Medalist will be back in line for a big fight after this.  Golden Boy, his promoter, could put him in with Miguel Berchelt, their WBC 130 lbs. Champ, or Jorge Linares, their WBA 135 lbs. Champ.  Gamboa would be a big underdog vs. either man.

The rest of the undercard featured some great prospects on Main Events roster.  Hard punching Bakhram Murtazaliev, 153-3/4, moved to 11-0, 9 KOs, with a clinical chopping down of Carlos Galvan, 151-3/4, 16-6-1, 15 KOs.  The fight was stopped at 1:31 of the 5th after two knockdowns in fifth including a brutal finishing left hook to body.  Murtazaliev is best buddies with Kovalev, whose Krusher Promotions co-promotes him.  Murtazaliev also shares the same trainer as Kovalev - Abror Tursunpulatov.  Friends who train together, whup ass together apparently.

Frank Galarza, 153, returned from a long layoff to score a unanimous decision over Jaime Herrera, 153-1/4, in a scheduled eight.  The scores seemed a little wide at 80-72, 78-74, 79-73.  Galarza showed some rust, as he got hit more than usual and looked a little gassed at the end.  Galarza improves to 18-2-2, 11 KOs, while Herrera falls to 15-5-1, 8 KOs.

Former NY Golden Gloves Champ LeShawn Rodriguez, 156-1/2, improved to 8-0, 7 KOs with an an impressive stoppage of Alex Sandro Duarte, 154-1/4, 13-3-1, 10 KOs at 1:48 of the third round of a scheduled six.

Kickboxing star turned boxer Enriko Gogokhia, 148-1/2, moved to 7-0, 3 KOs with a unanimous decision over Jose Antonio Abreu, 148-1/4, 13-3, 8 KOs over six.

Meirim Nursultanov, 161-1/2, was extremely impressive in stopping previously unbeaten Eric Moon, 162-1/4, at 1:54 of the second round.  Nursultanov went 13-0 in the World Series of Boxing, so his amateur pedigree is outstanding.  He looks like yet another devastating fighter from the Egis Klimas roster.  His pro record (excluding WSB) is now 5-0, 4 KOs, while Moon drops to 7-1, 6 KOs.

Ismael Villareal, 154-12, former two-time NY Golden Glove champ and son of former fighter Otilio Villareal, made his debut a successful one with a four-round unanimous decision over winless Race Sawyer.  Villareal is now 1-0, while Sawyer falls to 0-5.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wilder and DiBella File for Summary Judgment Against World Of Boxing and Povetkin in Doping Case

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Layton Dudley

Earlier this week, attorneys for WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder and his promoter, DiBella Entertainment ("DBE"), filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing ("WOB"), in their long-running case in the Southern District of New York stemming from the WBC Heavyweight title fight between Wilder and Povetkin, scheduled for May 21, 2016, that was postponed due to Povetkin's positive drug test for Meldonium.

In February 2017, a trial was held on the sole issue of whether Povetkin had ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016 (the date at which Meldonium became a banned substance under WADA testing rules).  The jury took only 32 minutes to decide in Wilder's favor that Povetkin had ingested Meldonium.  Attorneys for Povetkin and WOB immediately filed Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law and for a New Trial.

In September 2017, District Judge Andrew Carter denied the Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and for a New Trial as reported on this blog.  At that time, Judd Burstein, attorney for Wilder and DBE, stated his intention to file a motion for summary judgment seeking damages.

In the summary judgment motion, Burstein argues that Wilder and DBE are entitled to judgment as a matter of law that WOB and Povetkin breached the bout agreement.  The motion alleges that WOB agreed in the bout agreement, drafted by the WBC, that they would deliver Povetkin for the bout.  The WBC made the positive test by Povetkin public on May 13, 2016 and then announced that bout was postponed on May 15, 2016 for the safety of the fighters.  The motion further argues that due to Povetkin's positive test, WOB could not deliver him for the bout and thus breached the bout agreement.

The motion also argues that WOB's claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing should be dismissed because there is no evidence to support WOB's claims that Wilder and DBE pressured the WBC into postponing the bout.  Wilder and DBE argue that the postponement was self-inflicted due to Povetkin's positive test.

Regarding the escrow agreement claims, Burstein asks the court to release the escrow funds to Wilder in the amount of $4,369,365 for his purse amount, an additional $27,500 in training expenses, as well as 9% interest on those amounts from the time of the breach.  Burstein notes that the escrow agreement states, "the Escrow Agent shall not disburse any funds unless and until it receives joint instruction from the parties or a non-appealable order from a court . . ., at which time it shall disburse the funds to parties as their interests may appear[.]"  

Earlier in the litigation, the court had ruled that the Escrow Agreement did not limit in any substantive way, Wilder's ability to lodge an objection to disbursement.  Burstein argues that because Wilder is entitled to summary judgment on the breach of the WBC bout agreement, he is entitled to summary judgment on his claim for declaratory judgment on disbursement of the escrow funds.

See the Motion for Summary Judgment below:
  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jacobs vs. Arias Fight Report – A Lesson In Levels And Being Careful What You Wish For


Last night at the recently renovated Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY, Daniel Jacobs, 159.6, Brooklyn, NY, moved to 33-2, 29 KOs with a near shutout 12-round win over previously unbeaten Luis Arias, 160, Milwaukee, WI, 18-1, 9 KOs.

Jacobs, one of the top middleweights in the world, fought angry from round one due to pre-fight provocations from the loquacious Arias.  Arias had goaded Jacobs about not “running” and boasted that he would be “standing in the middle of the ring” ready for war.  It was apparent from early in the opening round that, in fact, it would be Arias doing the “running” (and clinching) with Jacobs holding down the middle of the ring and ready for war.

About a minute or so in, Jacobs appeared to catch Arias off balance with a clubbing right and followed up with a flurry.  Arias offered back a few winging rights to the body and head but was clearly on the run.

Message delivered.

Throughout the first three rounds, Jacobs controlled the distance and tried to time Arias with a big right hand, landing a few straight rights and uppercuts.  Arias, when under attack, inevitably dipped and tried to hold.

Round four was better for Arias, as he started to find a home for the right hand.  Jacobs inexplicably started the round in the southpaw stance and muted his own offense.

Round five saw Jacobs do more stalking and Arias mostly moved and tried to avoid Jacobs’ big shots.  Arias seemed to be sitting on a big counter right but mostly just moved and held.  Jacobs effectively controlled distance.

In round six, Arias finally came out of his shell briefly and some lively exchanges occurred.  Neither man did a lot of damage though Jacobs let his hands go and goaded Arias at the end of the round as Arias tried to hold.

Rounds seven through ten featured more of the same, Jacobs stalking and loading up too much on head shots rather than working the body and head in combination.  Arias still tried to land winging shots but he threw from too far out and seemed afraid to engage and expose himself.  Jacobs also tended to flurry hard in the last ten seconds to try to secure each round.

In round eleven, Jacobs scored the only knockdown of the fight with a cuffing left hook that may have been more of a pull-down than a punch.  Arias was in survival mode and appeared to start favoring his right foot.

The final round had the crowd booing a bit as Arias was in full survival mode.  At the final bell, Jacobs wanted no part of post-fight hugs or handshakes.  Clearly, Arias’ mouth had gotten him pissed and the fight going the distance due to Arias stinking it out didn’t help his mood. 

The judges were unanimous and wide, Larry Hazzard, Jr. - 118-109, Julie Lederman - 120-107, and Steve Weisfeld - 119-108.  All for Jacobs, who proved to be on a different level than Arias throughout.

Afterwards, Jacobs and new promoter Eddie Hearn seemed to state a preference for the winner of the WBO Middleweight title fight between champion Billy Joe Saunders and former IBF champion David Lemieux.  With that fight happening next month in Montreal, Jacobs planned to be ringside.  Jacobs stated that he wanted to stay active and be back in the ring in April.  Hearn seemed to confirm the April 2018 date and also the possibility of the Saunders-Lemieux winner.  Hearn also stated that though Frank Warren, Saunders’ promoter, is not the easiest man to make a deal with, he didn’t see any impediments to getting it done. 

Hearn has committed contractually to getting Jacobs three fights a year and with a handful (at least four) of HBO dates set aside for Matchroom, it will be interesting to see what 2018 holds for Jacobs.  That level of activity might also attract more US fighters to Hearn.  A representative of the PBC told me that Al Haymon is still involved with Jacobs but clearly Hearn is the one making the moves.  Time will tell if more fighters from the Haymon roster move to Hearn or other promoters who can offer them increased activity.

Arias, for his part, stated that he wasn't making excuses but . . . Jacobs was too big, having rehydrated post-weigh-in to an unknown weight and that a painful blister on his foot inhibited his ability to punch.  But, of course, he wasn't making excuses.  The weight excuse is a bit ridiculous as everyone knows that Jacobs is big middleweight who gets bigger after rehydrating.  When you sign to fight him - you know that's part of the bargain.  Also, the last I checked, the same rules applied to both men.  Nothing stopped Arias from getting big after the weigh-in, just like Jacobs.

In the co-feature bout, massive heavyweights Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, 6’4 - 283.4, Brooklyn, NY and  Mariusz Wach, 6’7-1/2 - 268, Krakow, POL went at it in a lively scrap that ended with the referee stopping it at 1:02 of the 9th round.

After a close first round, a slugfest in slow motion broke out in round two as the two men with a combined 160 inches in arm reach decided they preferred to fight in a phone booth.  Both men landed well but Wach was sucking wind hard by round end due to the pace.

The middle rounds proceeded with more of the sloppy slugfest.  Miller has an interesting technique of throwing a number of just touching punches and then mixing in a few hard ones.  Neither man was getting great leverage or turning on their shots.  One colleague described it as watching someone try to cut down a tree with a dull ax.  It was two big men trading mostly arm punches but it was not unexciting. 

Apparently, Wach injured his right hand at some point and the doctors were checking on him.  This lead to what looked like a bizarre stoppage barely a minute into round 9.  Wach did not complain.

Miller moves to 20-0-1, 18 KOs, Wach falls to 33-3, 17 KOs.  Though Miller mentioned WBO champion Joseph Parker as his preferred opponent after the fight, his co-promoter (and my former client – full disclosure) Dmitriy Salita seemed to be a bit more non-committal.  Further discussion with Eddie Hearn seemed to hint at a possible Miller vs. Dillian White fight in April.  If this is what Hearn has in mind, that would seem to indicate that Parker may be the preferred next opponent for Hearn’s number one charge, IBF, WBA, and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Regarding WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s reaction to Miller’s performance, he texted, “I’m speechless. (Laughing to tears emojis.)  I’ll continue sipping my tea.” (Reference to Joshua’s tweets from earlier in the week when reacting to other heavyweights calling him out).
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In the first co-feature fight that HBO televised, local fighter Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin, 141.2, Long Island, NY improved to 21-0, 17 KO’s, with an absolute mauling of Roberto Ortiz, 141.2, Torreon, MX, who fell to 35-2-2, 26 KO’s.  

Chants of "Hammer!" rang out through the arena for Seldin as he entered and he did not disappoint.  Less than a minute in the fighters exchanged right hands with Seldin getting there first and putting Ortiz down.  A follow-up flurry punctuated by a shot that appeared to land behind the head put Ortiz down a second time.  Ortiz tried to rally but was on shaky legs.

Round two saw Seldin land another hard right hand that caused a nasty cut above Ortiz’ left eye.  Ortiz landed a few decent shots in the round but the difference in strength was apparent and heavily in Seldin’s favor.

Late in round three, Ortiz took a knee after getting hit squarely by a pointed Seldin elbow right on his left eye.  Seldin has a peculiar habit of sometimes pointing his left elbow straight out and here it ended up as a weapon.  The ringside doctor stopped the fight.  Though the left elbow square in the face clearly caused the fight to end, the victory was given to Seldin by TKO.  This might have been a missed call on an accidental foul that could have resulted in a no contest ruling.  However, Seldin was clearly the superior fighter.

Afterwards, Seldin proclaimed himself ready for a title shot.  His promoter Joe DeGuardia was amenable to that but also would like to see if he could make what would be a big local fight between Seldin and fellow LI resident and former WBO super lightweight champ Chris Algieri.

On the undercard, a scheduled six-round welterweight bout featured the son of former WBC Super Middleweight champion and Hall of Fame nominee, Nigel “Dark Destroyer” Benn.   London’s young Connor “The Destroyer” Benn, 147.8, lived up to his nickname and family legacy by devastating Brando Sanudo, 148.4, of San Felipe, MX, with a sizzling left hook to the liver for the KO at 1:00 of round two. 

Benn appears to be another rising star in the growing Eddie Hearn/Matchroom roster.  Benn’s father has taken the approach of not being involved and taking attention away from his son or putting undue pressure on him.  An admirable approach, but we’ll see if he can contain his pride and excitement as his kid climbs the ladder. 

Though he has yet to be seriously tested, he appears to have the goods.  Benn raises his record to 10-0, 8 KOs, while Sanudo goes back to Mexico with a sore liver and a sub-.500 record at 5-6, 2 KO’s.

In other action, a showdown between promising junior featherweights ended in a minor upset as Jesse Angel Hernandez, Ft. Worth, TX, defeated previously unbeaten two-time Shobox participant Glenn Dezurn, Baltimore, MD, by unanimous decision over eight.  Hernandez, promoted by Salita Promotions, improved to 10-1, 7 KOs, while Dezurn falls to 9-1-1, 6 KOs.

In a junior welterweight bout, NYPD officer Dimash Niyazov remained unbeaten, stopping Augustine Mauras, Lawrence, MA in the fifth round of a scheduled six.  Niyazov is now 13-0-3, 6 KOs, Mauras falls to 6-4-3, 3 KOs.

Former Uzbek amateur star Shohjahon Ergashev blasted through Marquis Hawthorne in two rounds of scheduled six at welterweight.  The southpaw Ergashev lives in Brooklyn but trains at the Kronk Gym in Detroit under Javan SugarHill Steward, Emanuel’s nephew.  Ergashev improved to 10-0, 10 KOs.  Hawthorne sinks to 5-8, 1 KO.

Long Island’s Tyrone James is still unbeaten after besting veteran Daniel Sostre by unanimous decision at junior middleweight over six.  James moves to 6-0, 3 KOs, Sostre is now 12-15-1, 5 KOs.

Veteran local ticket seller Tommy Rainone escaped with a draw against George Sosa in another six round junior middleweight contest.  Rainone is now 28-6-2, 6 KOs, and Sosa stands at 15-10-1, 15 KOs.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Class Action Suit Against Showtime Alleging Faulty Mayweather-McGregor PPV Transmission Headed To Arbitration

A Federal Court judge in the Southern District of New York recently granted Showtime's motion to compel arbitration in a putative class action brought by plaintiff Victor Mallh alleging issues with Showtime's online stream of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match.

Judge Denise Cote ruled that the online agreement that viewers had to click their consent to before purchasing the bout on PPV, was "reasonably conspicuous and the plaintiff's click gave his unambiguous consent" to the form agreement to arbitrate and class action waiver contained in the Terms of Use (TOU).

Judge Cote also held that "[c]ourts around the country have recognized that an electronic click can suffice the acceptance of a contract . . . as long as the layout and language of the site give the user reasonable notice that a click will manifest assent to an agreement."  By clicking the "I agree" box, that indicated agreement with the TOU, the plaintiff assented to arbitration.

Judge Cote held that Mallh's action was stayed pending the outcome of the arbitration.

There are similar cases regarding the Mayweather-McGregor online stream that are stayed pending the outcome of this case.

See Judge Cote's order below:


See Showtime's Motion to Compel Arbitration or, in the Alternative, Dismiss the Action:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Boxing Esq. Podcast! Patrick English, Attorney For Main Events

Big news!  I've finally started a podcast.  The Boxing Esq. Podcast will soon be available on YouTube, but as of now, it is available on iTunes and Soundcloud.

I will be speaking with some of the movers and shakers in the sport of boxing.  This initial podcast is with Patrick English, longtime counsel for Main Events.  We talk about his career in boxing including his involvement in some of the seminal litigation cases in the sport as well as key legislation like the Ali Act.  We also go through some of the business history of Main Events and talk about the present and future of the sport.

I'd like to thank Pat for taking the time (and patience through a few technical difficulties) to speak with me for the podcast.

Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/emhoffk/boxing-esq-podcast-2-patrick-english

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Middendorf Sports v. Top Rank Headed To Mediation

An order has been issued in the Middendorf Sports v. Top Rank litigation staying all discovery deadlines pending the outcome of mediation in the case.  According to sources, a one-day mediation is scheduled for later this month.  This case was brought in United States District Court, District of Nebraska and the mediation will take place in Omaha.

Middendorf Sports is seeking compensation from Top Rank for money allegedly owed on the fights of Terence Crawford, including Crawford's bouts against Viktor Postal, John Molina, Felix Diaz and Julius Indongo.  A recap of Middendorf's Second Amended Complaint was covered in this blog last month.

See Magistrate Judge Susan Bazis' Order staying discovery:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Golden Boy Voluntarily Dismisses Ninth Circuit Appeal in Haymon Antitrust Case

Last week, Golden Boy Promotions filed papers with the Ninth Circuit to voluntarily dismiss its appeal of the Central District of California Court's decision to grant summary judgment to Al Haymon and his various corporate entities on the antitrust claims filed in 2015.  The Ninth Circuit entered an order dismissing the appeal.

Golden Boy's opening appeal brief was due to be filed by October 27.  They filed the stipulation of voluntary dismissal on October 25.

Thus, Al Haymon and the PBC get their final and complete victory over Golden Boy and the allegations of monopoly and violations of the Muhammad Ali Act.   A brief summary of the lower court's decision was covered in this blog last month.

See Golden Boy's stipulation for dismissal below:


See Ninth Circuit's Order of Dismissal of Appeal below:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Main Events Settles Trademark Infringement Case Against Main Event Boxing Gym

Earlier this week, Main Events settled its trademark infringement suit against Main Event Boxing Gym (MEBG).  The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

In July 2017, Main Events had filed suit against MEBG in federal court in the Middle District of Florida seeking a permanent injunction to stop MEBG from using the words "Main Event" in connection with their business.  MEBG had started promoting boxing in the spring of 2016 and was using the name of the gym and related trademarks in promotional materials.

In its complaint, Main Events alleged trademark and service mark infringement and unfair competition under both the federal law Lanham Act, as well as the common law and Florida State laws.

On September 6, 2017, MEBG filed a motion to dismiss or in the alternative motion for summary judgment, claiming that the "Main Event" mark had become generic (though they barely cited any case law - 2 cases).  Main Events filed strong opposition papers on September 18, 2017 and the case was settled before the court could rule on the motion.

See the settlement agreement below:

See MEBG's MTD/MSJ below:
 
See Main Events' opposition below:
 

Friday, October 20, 2017

NY State Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Claims in Mago Suit

In an opinion issued earlier this week, the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed the dismissal of certain claims in boxer Magomed Abdusalamov’s ("Mago") suit accusing ringside doctors and the promoter of the event of responsibility for his injuries following his 2013 bout with Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden.

Regarding the lack of informed consent claim against the four ringside doctor defendants (Anthony Curreri, Osric King, Avery Browne and Gerard Varlotta), the panel held that this claim was properly dismissed by the trial judge. The panel stated that New York law requires the plaintiff to allege there was "some unconsented-to affirmative violation of the plaintiff’s physical integrity (citation omitted).  As the plaintiffs made no allegation that the defendants, in purportedly failing to prevent, diagnose, and treat the injuries [Mago] allegedly sustained during the boxing match, invaded his bodily integrity, the Supreme Court properly directed dismissal of the plaintiffs’ second cause of action to the extent it sought recovery on the basis of lack of informed consent.”


The panel further affirmed the dismissal of derivative causes of action asserted by Mago’s wife on behalf of their three children.


Mago's family had also brought claims for punitive damages against the ringside doctors and promoter K2 Promotions, but the panel affirmed the lower court's dismissal as the claims did not "constitute gross recklessness or intentional, wanton or malicious conduct . . . or are activated by evil or reprehensible motives."  The panel held that the claims alleged nothing more than mere negligence.


As reported last month, the State of New York and certain officials of the New York State Athletic Commission settled with Mago for $22 Million.


See the Second Department's opinion below:


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mayweather Legal Update

Floyd Mayweather's team is known as the The Money Team (TMT) and of course, where there is money, you'll find litigation.  Currently, there are a number of matters pending involving Floyd Mayweather, either directly or indirectly.

Floyd Sr. gets sued for $20M by former publicist

Let's start with the latest involving Floyd's father, Floyd Mayweather, Sr.  As reported by Paul Gift in Forbes, Ann Barlow, a former publicist for Floyd Sr., is suing him for breach of contract stemming from a public relations and consulting services contract Sr. signed with her.  According to the Forbes article, in 2015, Sr. had sued Barlow over the same agreement, claiming that she had tricked him into signing it, when he really wanted help setting up a nonprofit foundation for sarcoidosis (which he is suffering from).  Sr. dropped the suit but Barlow is now suing him for breach and claiming over $20M in damages.

Showtime looking to consolidate Mayweather-McGregor Streaming Suits in NY

Showtime filed a motion to transfer and centralize eight lawsuits in five different federal districts regarding the loss of streaming services for the Mayweather-McGregor bout to the Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.  The suits allege that either Showtime or affiliate companies of the UFC which offered the Mayweather-McGregor PPV via streaming service, sold a defective product that prevented purchasers from watching the event.

See Showtime's motion below:



Mayweather Promotions files for Default Judgment in "Philthy Rich" trademark dispute

In August 2017, Mayweather Promotions, LLC ("MP") filed an opposition to rapper Phillip Anthony Beasley's attempt to trademark his nom de rap "Philthy Rich".  MP had previously registered the name of Floyd's record label "Philthy Rich Records" with the PTO.  Beasley was required to file an answer to the opposition by October 9, 2017.  Having failed to do so, MP moved for a default judgment before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB").

See the default motion below:



Ticketmaster sues scalpers for using bots to buy tickets to events, incl., Mayweather-Pacquiao

Ticketmaster is claiming $10M in damages in a suit it brought against Prestige and other secondary ticket brokers for the use of "bots" that buy in bulk tickets available to the public.  The suit alleges the brokers then resell the tickets at a significant markup.  Ticketmaster alleges that the bots were able to circumvent the site's security features and restrictions on tickets per customer to do mass buys for many prominent events.  The suit alleges that the bots purchased the "majority of the tickets available through Ticketmaster" for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. 

See the complaint below:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ali Company Sues Fox Broadcasting for False Endorsement and Right of Publicity

Muhammad Ali Enterprises, LLC ("MAE"), the company that owns the intellectual property rights of former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, sued Fox Broadcasting Company ("Fox") in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Illinois, for using Ali's likeness in a Super Bowl commercial without the company's permission.

MAE, which is owned by Authentic Brands Group and the Muhammad Ali Family Trust, alleged that a three minute ad that featured images of Ali and audio of him shouting "I am the Greatest!" was juxtaposed with images of past Super Bowl stars whose greatness was equated to Ali's.  MAE further alleges that the images of Ali were used by FOX without MAE's permission.

The audience for the Super Bowl was alleged to have reached over 111 million viewers and MAE claims that Fox could have sold that advertising time for a total of $30 Million.

MAE alleges two different causes of action, a Federal Lanham Act claim for False Endorsement, as well as a Right of Publicity claim brought under an Illinois state statute.

See the complaint below:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Top Rank to produce documents in MMA fighter class action v. Zuffa

Attorneys representing the class of fighters who are suing Zuffa, LLC (the UFC's parent company) on monopoly and monopsony grounds, filed a Notice of Resolution of the their Motion to Compel Top Rank, Inc. to produce financial documents in the case.  Unfortunately, the Notice of Resolution is heavily redacted but it's clear that Top Rank will produce at least some financial documents in the case.

In the Motion to Compel, plaintiffs' attorneys had sought "full year, aggregated financial data which includes total revenues generated from the promotion of boxing events, and total compensation paid to boxers."  The Motion quoted Arum as saying that Top Rank paid its boxers approximately 80% of proceeds generated from boxing events compared to the UFC which he stated "doesn't pay out 20% to the fighters . . . They are a monopoly - and we are not."

See Motion to Compel below:

See Notice of Resolution below:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

District Judge denies Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law and for a New Trial in Wilder v. World of Boxing, LLC

Today, District Judge Andrew Carter issued an opinion denying World of Boxing, LLC's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Motion for a New Trial in the Deontay Wilder v. World of Boxing, LLC ("WOB") case in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York.  Judge Carter remarked in his opinion that WOB was "a defeated combatant unwilling to accept a sound jury verdict."

This case involved the alleged ingesting of the banned substance, Meldonium, by heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin ahead of his scheduled world title bout against WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, which was slated for May 21, 2016 in Moscow, Russia.  Nine days before the scheduled bout, it was announced that VADA, which conducted the testing for the fight, had determined that Povetkin's April 27 urine sample had tested positive for Meldonium.  Wilder, after receiving this news, cancelled his flight to the site of bout.  Wilder's promoter DBE had negotiated to have Wilder's purse put in escrow ahead of the bout.

Wilder eventually sued WOB for breach of the bout agreement (for failing to deliver Povetkin), breach of the escrow agreement (for failing to instruct the escrow agent to pay Wilder) and requested a declaratory judgment (instructing the escrow agent to release the funds to Wilder).  WOB counter-sued claiming breach of the bout agreement (for Wilder failing to show for the fight), breach of the escrow agreement (for Wilder's improperly instructing escrow agent to not release the funds), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (for Wilder acting to pressure WBC to cancel the bout) and defamation (for Wilder's statements to the press about Povetkin's alleged use of PEDs).

The case was set for an expedited trial on one issue only: whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium on or after January 1, 2016.  The January 1, 2016 date is significant because that is the date WADA put Meldonium on the banned substance list.  Part of Povetkin's argument was that he had legally ingested Meldonium in 2015 and that the positive test in April 2016 was only from remnants of his ingestion when it was legal.  In fact, there were three urine samples that Povetkin gave prior to this positive test (April 7, April 8 and April 11) that showed results similar to positive tests for Meldonium but were determined by VADA not to be Meldonium.  The experts on both sides of the case argued that those three tests supported their side's arguments.

On March 6, 2017, after a three-day trial, the jury took only 32 minutes of deliberation to find that Povetkin had indeed ingested Meldonium on or after January 1, 2016.   WOB filed the motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law and for a New Trial within a week of the verdict.

In the opinion issued today, in regards to the motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, Judge Carter stated that the jury had heard "two interpretations of complex scientific evidence" and that "Wilder's expert testified that Povetkin's April 7, April 8, and April 11 urine samples contained a compound similar in weight to Meldonium, but [Wilder's expert] was adamant that Meldonium was not present.  [WOB]'s expert testified that Povetkin's April 7, April 8, and April 11 urine samples contained Meldonium, but a compound with similar weight interfered with Meldonium.  The jury was free to choose."  Judge Carter reasoned that even if the jury believed WOB's expert, it could still have found that Povetkin took Meldonium on or after January 1, 2016.  Judge Carter also held that the jury heard Povetkin's testimony that he only took "vitamins" from his trainer and chose to reject his testimony.  Thus, the Court held that the evidence supported the verdict and denied WOB's motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law.

Regarding the Motion for a New Trial, Judge Carter stated that WOB's "attempt to re-litigate expert testimony only underscores that the jury had to pick one expert's theory on Povetkin's samples or the other."  Judge Carter also rejected WOB's attempts to enter newly discovered evidence (a study finding that Meldonium may stay in the blood for up to 147 days and WADA's notice in May 2017 that only Meldonium over 100 ng/ml should be reported (Povetkin tested at 72 ng/ml)).  Carter found that the study was released on the first day of trial and could have been uncovered then and that WADA's notice was not to be considered because the bout agreement was executed in April 2016 under WADA's 2016 standards.  Thus, Judge Carter denied that Motion for a New Trial.

Judd Burstein, Wilder's counsel, has previously stated that once WOB's post-trial motions were denied, he would file a motion for summary judgment seeking damages and serve a motion for sanctions unless WOB dropped the defamation case.  We will continue to track how this case proceeds.

See Judge Carter's opinion below:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Update on Ninth Circuit Appeal in Golden Boy v. Haymon

In May 2015, Golden Boy Promotions sued Al Haymon and his various corporate entities, along with the hedge funds and individuals who funded the PBC for antitrust violations.  Specifically, Golden Boy alleged violations of the Sherman Act, including attempted monopolization (Section 2) and unlawful "tying" (Section 1); injunctive relief under the Clayton Act; violation of the California Unfair Practices Act; and unfair competition under California law.

In January 2017, Judge John Walter in the United States District Court, Central District of California wrote an opinion granting Haymon's motion for summary judgment against Golden Boy (the other defendants had already been dismissed from the case).  See the full opinion at the bottom of the article.

In summary, the Court denied the Section 2, Sherman Act claims as it found Haymon's exclusive television contracts did not foreclose Golden Boy or other promoters from access to television networks.  The Court further held that Golden Boy had not presented sufficient evidence of "venue blocking" or "predatory pricing".  The Court also held that Golden Boy could not establish antitrust injury based on violations of the Ali Act because the only parties with standing to assert such claims are boxers and government agencies.

The Section 1, Sherman Act claims were similarly denied as the Court did not find a tying arrangement between Haymon and his boxers as the provision in his contract that boxers could not sign promotional agreements without his approval did not prevent boxers from being promoted by competitors in the promotional market.  The Court also found that Golden Boy failed to demonstrate Haymon possessed market power in the tying product.  The Court criticized Golden Boy's experts for the "fundamental flaws" in their market definition.  Further, the Court held that the barriers to entry were very low in the boxing management market and that non-Haymon managed boxers had not been foreclosed from fighting Haymon-managed boxers on PBC broadcasts.

Having denied the Sherman Act claims, the Court denied injunctive relief under the Clayton Act. Similarly, since the federal Sherman Act claims were dismissed, the Court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state law claims.

In February 2017, Golden Boy appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  In May 2017, the parties tried unsuccessfully to resolve their differences through arbitration.

In August 2017, the amended briefing schedule was set as follows: Golden Boy's opening brief  is due October 27, 2017; Haymon's answering brief is due December 15, 2017; and an optional reply brief from Golden Boy is due within 32 of service of the answering brief.

See the briefing order below: See the full opinion of Judge Walter below:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Judge Dismisses Dominic Breazeale's Lawsuit Against Deontay Wilder

Last month, in United States District Court, Central District of California, Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the lawsuit filed by Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale and his trainer Manny Robles against WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, Marcellus Wilder (Deontay's younger brother) and Marriott International, Inc. in regards to a brawl that broke out in the Birmingham Marriott lobby after Wilder's title defense against Gerald Washington on February 25, 2017.

The complaint alleged assault and battery against the Wilder brothers, as well as premises liability and negligence against Marriott.  According to the factual allegations of the complaint, Breazeale was sitting in the audience with his family after his thrilling victory over Izu Ugonoh and awaiting Deontay Wilder's fight, when Marcellus started shouting profanities at him.  Marcellus then came over and stood in front of Breazeale, who had his son in his lap and continued to taunt and provoke Breazeale.  Eventually, Breazeale decided to leave and return to the Marriott to avoid a confrontation.

The complaint further alleges that Deontay Wilder then made threatening statements about Breazeale at the post-fight press conference, including stating that it "ain't a problem I want to see him [about] in the ring.  So, I'll see him."

A few hours after Deontay's press conference, as Breazeale, his family and Robles were in the lobby on their way to dinner, they were confronted by Marcellus and Deontay.  The complaint alleges that words were exchanged and both Deontay and Marcellus threw punches at Breazeale, Robles and others in the vicinity.  As Breazeale and his family tried to escape, Breazeale's wife allegedly asked Deontay to stop trying to provoke a fight in front of Breazeale's children and Deontay allegedly replied: "Fuck your kids."  As Breazeale turned around on the way to the elevator, Marcellus allegedly sucker-punched him in the back of the head.

There is some very limited video footage of the brawl courtesy of TMZ.

The complaint in the case was filed on April 13, 2017.  Marriott moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in the state of California.  On July 7, 2017, the Court ruled in Marriott's favor dismissing the case against them.  On July 21, 2017, the Court then filed an order to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for lack of prosecution due to lack of proof that the summons and complaint had been served on all defendants.  On August 9, 2017, the Court issued an order dismissing the case, stating the "[c]ase should have been closed on [entry of the order dismissing the case against Marriott] dated July 7, 2017."

See the orders dismissing the case, as well the order to show cause, below:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thoughts on GGG-Canelo

Excellent fight on Saturday night between two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, WBC, WBA and IBF Middleweight Champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin and former WBC Middleweight Champ Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.  The general consensus seems to be that GGG should have gotten the decision.  However, the back and forth nature of many of the rounds made it difficult to score and the draw verdict was not a completely unjust one.  I scored the fight 115-113 (7-5 in rounds) for GGG.  One of the official judges Adalaide Byrd scored it 118-110 for Canelo.  Her card seems to be an outlier as most folks in press row seemed to have it 115-113 or 116-112 for GGG, with a few scoring it 115-113 for Canelo.

Below is a breakdown of the scoring totals of the official judges scorecards, as well as my own:


A few observations on what went down:
  • As mentioned above, judge Adalaide Byrd had a card that was an outlier from not only her two fellow judges but most of the viewing public and even the fighter she scored it for (in the post-fight interview, Canelo stated that he won 7 or 8 rounds - Byrd gave him 10).  She definitely has some history as an outlier who scores fights wider than or contrary to her fellow judges. As recently as June of this year, she scored the Eddie Ramirez - Erick Bone fight 7-3 for Bone, as the other judges had it 7-3 Ramirez prompting the commentators to ask "What was Adalaide Byrd looking at?"  She had Errol Spence up 7-3 vs. Kell Brook in a fight most had close to even in rounds going into the 11th and final round. In December 2016, she had Richard Commey beating Denis Shafikov 8-4 in an IBF eliminator but was overruled by her two fellow judges. Also in 2016, in what was a real head scratcher, she somehow had Maurice Hooker beating Darlys Perez 7-3 in a fight most everyone in press row and at home had Perez winning handily. In other words, this is not the first time she's scored a fight way out of line with the majority. Top Rank, apparently, objected to her as a judge for the Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters, though the NSAC still allowed her to judge the fight. I'm pretty sure K2/GGG Promotions wish they had objected as well in hindsight.
  • GGG looked really tight in the early going and, despite the exhortations of Abel Sanchez, completely ignored Canelo's body for nearly the entire fight. According to an ESPN statistical breakdown of the fight, GGG only landed 8 body shots for the entire fight. That is not a misprint. He also connected on only 31% of his total punches, way down from his norm of 40%. His headhunting cost him accuracy and did not slow Canelo and allowed him to get that second wind and come on down the stretch. I'm sure Abel will chide him during film study for the rematch that to slow down Canelo - he needs to pay more attention to landing those lethal body shots. Ask Matthew Macklin what a difference maker GGG's body shots are.
  • Canelo surprised me with how superior his hand speed was to GGG's. He was able to beat GGG to the punch time and again and looked like he could have stood in and traded a little more. Canelo made a huge tactical error in my estimation by constantly going idle and letting GGG get off for sometimes minutes at a time in rounds. Canelo often started rounds by landing crisp clean combinations on GGG but then would practically give the rest of the round away. Obviously, a big part of that was stamina but also poor tactics. This was a very winnable fight for Canelo. He needs to study the tapes of Hagler-Leonard or Ali-Frazier II to learn how to get his shots off and then tie up to get his rest - as opposed to aimlessly dancing and settling on the ropes. By clinching, instead of falling into the ropes, Canelo could have muted GGG's rallies and caught a breather in order to mount his next quick-handed volley. We'll see if he makes this adjustment in the inevitable rematch. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Middendorf Sports Files Second Amended Complaint vs.Top Rank and Bud Crawford

On September 1, 2017, attorneys for Middendorf Sports, the corporate entity for matchmaker/advisor/promoter Chris Middendorf, filed a second amended complaint ("SAC") in their ongoing breach of contract suit against Top Rank and undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion Terence "Bud" Crawford in United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Case No. 8:17-cv-00011.

(An earlier report on the SAC by ESPN made it seem as if Middendorf Sports had just recently filed this suit, when, in fact, the original complaint in this case was filed on January 10, 2017.)

Sometime in the mid-to-late aughts, Middendorf, along with Chet Koerner, formed a promotional company, TKO Boxing Promotions. According to the SAC, in December 2010, TKO signed Crawford to a promotional deal. By mid-2011, TKO had fallen on tough times and worked out an Agreement and Release ("A&R") to have Top Rank promote Crawford. In the fee provision paragraph of the A&R, Top Rank was to pay TKO a fee equal to 8% of Crawford's purses for any world championship title defenses promoted by Top Rank pursuant to the Promotional Rights Agreement between Top Rank and Crawford.

In July 2011, TKO assigned its rights under the A&R to Middendorf Sports. In September 2014, Top Rank and Crawford entered into a Restated Promotional Rights Agreement to promote Crawford for the next 3 years with options to extend for another 3 years.

The SAC alleges that Top Rank paid Middendorf Sports without fail pursuant to the A&R through July 23, 2016 - including title defenses by Crawford against Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, 2014, Ray Beltran on November 29, 2014, Dierry John on October 24, 2015 and Hank Lundy on February 27, 2016.

On July 23, 2016, Crawford, then the WBO champion, unified the titles against then WBC champ Viktor Postal. The SAC alleges Crawford was paid $1.3 million for the fight but Top Rank failed to pay Middendorf Sports its fee under the A&R. Similarly, the SAC alleges Top Rank has refused to pay Middendorf Sports for subsequent defenses by Crawford against: John Molina, for which he was paid $1.5 million; Felix Diaz, for which he was paid $1.6 million; and Julius Indongo, for which he was paid over $2 million.

The SAC alleges causes of action for: 1) Breach of Contract; 2) Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; 3) Accounting; and 4) Declaratory Judgment.

The SAC does make clear in a footnote that Crawford is only named as a nominal defendant and Middendorf Sports does not allege that he did anything wrong or actionable.

See the entire filed SAC, including exhibits, below:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Multi-District Litigation In Re: Mayweather-Pacquiao PPV Dismissed

On August 25, 2017, in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Judge R. Gary Klausner issued an opinion dismissing all of the claims filed in 26 individual actions and 15 consolidated complaints alleging that Defendants Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions, LLC, Manny Pacquiao, Top Rank, Inc., Michael Koncz, Bob Arum, Todd DuBeouf and HBO all concealed Pacquiao's shoulder injury and mislead the buying public into paying for the fight that they would not have otherwise purchased.

Judge Klausner ruled that letting these claims stand would "disrupt the nature and integrity of competitive sports."   Judge Klausner used the doctrine known as the "license approach" in determining the legal rights of the ticket purchasers.  Under this doctrine, "a ticket to a sporting event gives the purchaser 'nothing more than a revocable license' to view what transpires at the ticketed event, regardless of prior promises or representations about the performance."

Judge Klausner held that "a misrepresentation or omission implicates the core of athletic competitions, and therefore does not constitute a cognizable injury to a legally protected interest under the license approach, if it is related to: (A) competitive strategy, or (B) the quality or outcome of competitive performance." Judge Klausner then reasoned that all of the alleged misrepresentations of the Defendants in regards to Pacquiao's injury fell under either competitive strategy or the quality of the performance.

"The Court is sympathetic to the fact that many boxing fans felt deceived by the statements and omissions made by the fight's participants and promoter.  The proper remedy for such unscrupulous behavior when it implicates the core of athletic competition, however, is not a legal one.  Disappointed fans may demand that fighters be more transparent in the future, lobby their state athletic commissions to impose more stringent pre-fight medical screenings and disclosure requirements, or even stop watching boxing altogether. They may not, however, sustain a class-action lawsuit."

"In this case, Plaintiffs ultimately received what they paid for, namely: the right to view a boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, sanctioned and regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Plaintiffs had no legally protected interest or right to see an exciting fight, a fight between two totally healthy and fully prepared boxers, or a fight that lived up to the significant pre-fight hype."

See Judge Klausner's opinion below:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

NY State Settles Mago Case for $22 Million

Yesterday, both ESPN and BoxingTalk reported that the family of heavyweight boxer Magomed Abdusalamov ("Mago") has agreed to settle its personal injury suit against the State of New York and certain officials of the New York State Athletic Commission ("Commission") for the sum of $22 million.  The settlement encompasses claims made against the state of New York in Thomas v. New York, Case No. 126865 in the New York State Court of Claims, as well as claims against the Commission's Chief Medical Officer Barry Jordan and an inspector (and former boxer) Matthew Farrago in Thomas v. Farrago, Case No. 505880/2014, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Kings.

Mago was injured in his bout with Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden on November 2, 2013. Mago appeared to take a hard forearm to the face in the first round and visibly complained to his corner.  Mago fought on and went the full ten rounds with Perez in what was a very spirited and competitive bout.  After being examined by Commission doctors in his dressing room, Mago was allowed to leave the arena on his own and soon after started vomiting.  He was taken to the hospital in a taxi by his handlers where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma.  He was then operated on to relieve the pressure on his brain and placed in an induced coma.

According to the ESPN report, Mago, 36, is still unable to walk and is paralyzed on the right side of his body.  His speech is also severely impaired and his doctors have stated he may never walk again.

The complaint filed in the Supreme Court, County of Kings, named Farrago, Jordan, as well as ringside doctors Anthony Curreri, M.D., Osric King, M.D., Avery Browne, D.O., Gerard Varlotta, D.O., referee Benji Esteves, Jr., promoter K2 Promotions, LLC and the venue MSG Holdings, L.P., as defendants.  All but Curreri, King, Varlotta and Esteves have now been dismissed from the case.

On June 29, 2017, Mago's attorneys filed a note of issue in the Supreme Court that they are ready for trial. Their most recent filing was a good faith demand letter to the attorneys of defendant doctors Curreri, King and Varlotta that they settle for the limits of their insurance coverage, which would net an additional $6.2 million for Mago.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Odds and Ends Post-Mayweather vs. McGregor

  • Erik Magraken, at the excellent Combat Sports Law blog, made an interesting find on Floyd Mayweather's pre-fight medical questionnaire. Floyd apparently admitted using injections of Kenalog (an anti-inflammatory) in his hands at 5 a.m. on the day of the fight.  Magraken noted that although Kenalog is a banned in-competition substance according to WADA's prohibited list - the WADA (and USADA, the testing entity) definition of "in-competition" only prohibits ingestion within 12 hours of competition.  Thus, with the fight happening around 9 p.m. PST, Floyd was within the rules to have the injection (depending on how the injection was administered - read the post).
  • Zach Arnold, at another great MMA site Fight Opinion, believes that "it is blatantly clear that Conor McGregor will continue fighting in both boxing and MMA."  Arnold also reported that Dana White was "non-committal" about whether WME-IMG may be willing to give McGregor a percentage interest in the UFC in order to keep him in the fold.  Arnold also quoted MMA legend Randy Couture as saying that this fight highlighted the financial issues MMA fighters face vis-a-vis boxing. Couture predicted that more MMA fighters will crossover to boxing in order to reap the sponsorship and PPV upside opportunities that are currently not present in the UFC.
  • Though Dana White was initially spewing about the number of PPV buys being above 6.5 million, according to ESPN, it appears the more realistic number is likely to land between 4 and 5 million buys.  Thus, it may not even break the previous PPV buy record set by Mayweather-Pacquiao at 4.6 million buys.

The Time Is Right For A Boxing League

HBO’s announcement that they are no longer in the boxing business was big news.  They were the leading broadcaster of the sport for decades...