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).
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.


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:

Great Show At The Hammerstein Tomorrow