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).

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - July 2018

Presenting the July 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings:

Movements:

Heavys – Dillian Whyte moves up from 6 to 3 with his gutsy win over former WBO Champ Joseph Parker in an excellent fight.  Dereck Chisora enters at 15 after his thrilling 8th round TKO win over Carlos Takam.  Takam drops from 10 to 16.

Cruisers – NO CHANGES (Usyk and Gassiev remain 1 and 2 after their superfight for all the belts.) 

Light Heavys - NO CHANGES.

Super Middles - Rocky Fielding moves from 21 to 13 with his win on the road over previously unbeaten "regular" WBA Champ Tyron Zeuge.  Zeuge falls from 14 to 18.  Fedor Chudinov moves from 15 to 14 with his close win over Nadjib Mohammedi.

Middles - NO CHANGES.

Jr. Middles - Jaime Munguia moves from 7 to 6 with decisive win over Liam Smith.  Konstantin Ponomarev moves from 15 to out with split loss to relative novice Sergey Vorobiev.  Vorobiev enters at 25.

Welters – Manny Pacquiao moves from 6 to 5 with impressive win over "regular" WBA Champ Lucas Matthysse.  Matthysse moves from 7 to out due to apparent retirement.  Omar Figueroa moves from 12 to out due to inactivity.  Francisco Santana and Felix Diaz enter at 24 and 25.

Jr. Welters – NO CHANGES.

Lights – NO CHANGES.

Jr. Lights - Masayuki Ito moves from 20 to 11 with exciting win over Christopher Diaz for the vacant WBO title.

Feathers - Nonito Donaire moves from 11 to out after move down to Bantamweight.  Jhack Tepora enters at 22 after his come from behind TKO win over Edivaldo Ortega for the "interim" WBA title.  Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda moves from 24 to out due to move up to Lightweight.  Eduardo Ramirez enters at 25.

Jr. Feathers – Shingo Wake moves from 17 to 9 with win over Yusaku Kuga.  Kuga drops from 14 to 18.  

Bantams – Nonito Donaire enters at 10 after signing up for the WBSS at 118.  Shohei Omori ends his inactivity with a win and enters at 25.  Stuart Hall and Aaron Alameda drop from 24 and 25 respectively to out.

Super Flys - NO CHANGES.

Flys – NO CHANGES.

Jr. Flys – NO CHANGES.

Straws – Victor Saludar moves from 20 to 7 after winning the WBO belt from Ryuya Yamanaka. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Boxing Podcast With Author Thomas Hauser

My guest on this podcast is, Thomas Hauser, acclaimed author of Missing, The Black Lights and Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times.  Tom is one of the foremost boxing writers in the business and his work has won multiple Boxing Writers Association of America awards as well as nominations for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

We spoke about the state of boxing in 2018 including Eddie Hearn's broadcast deal with DAZN, the Joshua-Wilder negotiations, and the World Boxing Super Series.  It was an insightful and informative conversation.

You can find Tom's boxing articles at The Sweet Science, Boxing Scene and The Ring.  His latest boxing books are There Will Always Be Boxing (2017) and the soon to be released Protect Yourself At All Times (2018).

Enjoy the podcast.  You can listen to it on Soundcloud or subscribe on either iTunes or Stitcher.  Please leave a comment or a rating, I would very much appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fox Settles With Muhammad Ali Enterprises To End False Endorsement And Right Of Publicity Suit

On Monday, July 16, in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, Fox Broadcasting Co. ("Fox") filed a Notification of Settlement of the $30 million suit filed against them by Muhammad Ali Enterprises, LLC ("MAE"), the company that owns the intellectual property rights of former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali.  The suit alleged that Ali's likeness was used in a Super Bowl commercial without the MAE's permission.

MAE, which is owned by Authentic Brands Group and the Muhammad Ali Family Trust, alleged that a three minute ad, played as a lead-in to the 2017 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, featured images of Ali and audio of him shouting "I am the Greatest!"  The Ali images and audio clips were juxtaposed with images of past Super Bowl stars whose greatness was equated to Ali's.

The suit was originally filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois in October 2017.  The complaint alleged two different causes of action, a Federal Lanham Act claim for False Endorsement, and a Right of Publicity claim brought under an Illinois state statute.  The case was transferred to the Northern District of California in November 2017.

Fox filed both a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as well as a Special Motion to Strike the Complaint in January 2018.  MAE filed their opposition papers in April 2018.  The parties argued the motions before the Court in May 2018.  A minute Order from the May proceedings stated that the parties agreed to private mediation.  The settlement comes a few months later before the Court had made a decision on the motions.  No terms of the settlement have been released.

See Settlement filing below:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - June 2018

Presenting the June 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings:
Movements:

Heavys – David Haye drops from 18 to out due to retirement.  Tyson Fury enters at 18 with win ending his inactivity.

Cruisers – Kevin Lerena moves up from 10 to 9 with win over Golovashchenko.  Krzystof Wlodarczyk moves from 13 to 12 with win over Durodola.  Andrzej Fonfara moves up from Light Heavyweight and enters at 17 with win over Sillah. 

Light Heavys - Fonfara moves from 13 to out due to move up to Cruiserweight.  Yarde moves up from 21 to 17 with impressive stoppage over Sek.  Blake Capparello enters at 25.

Super Middles - Robin Krasniqi enters at 23 with win over Kashtanov.  Vincent Feigenbutz moves from 25 to out.

Middles - Maciej Sulecki enters at 10 after tough loss to Daniel Jacobs.  Jack Arnfield moves from 25 to out.

Jr. Middles - Sulecki moves from 9 to out after move up to Middleweight.  Antonio Margarito moves back in to 25.

Welters – Thulani Mbenge enters at 22 with impressive 7th round stoppage of Diego Chaves.  Jose Benevidez enters at 23 with impressive 1st round stoppage for Frank Rojas.  Chaves drops from 21 to out.  Francisco Santana moves from 25 to out.

Jr. Welters – Josh Taylor leaps from 13 to 1 with impressive win over Victor Postol.  Postal drops from 1 to 3.  Maurice Hooker enters at 9 with tough win over Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO title.  Flanagan drops from 6 to 10.  Jose Zepeda moves from 21 to out due to move down to Lightweight.  Ohara Davies moves up from 23 to 22 with impressive win over Paul Kamanga.  Alex Saucedo moves up from 25 to 23 with a TKO 7 in a war with Lenny Zappavigna.

Lights – Dejan Zlatcanin drops from 10 to 20 with upset TKO2 loss to Roberto Ramirez.  Ramirez enters at 19.  Lewis Ritson moves from 21 to 16 with impressive 1st round blowout of previously unbeaten Paul Hyland, Jr.  Jose Zepeda enters at 17 after move down from Junior Welterweight and stoppage win over Carlos Diaz Ramirez.  Diaz Ramirez drops from 22 to out.  Hank Lundy drops from 25 to out.

Jr. Lights - NO CHANGES.

Feathers - NO CHANGES.

Jr. Feathers – Daniel Roman moves up from 6 to 5 with win over Moises Flores.  Gavin McDonnell moves from 17 to 15 with win over Stuart Hall.

Bantams – Stuart Hall drops from 19 to 24 with loss to McDonnell.  Hiroaki Teshigawara moves up from 24 to 19 with impressive stoppage win over Kinoshita.

Super Flys - NO CHANGES.

Flys – NO CHANGES.

Jr. Flys – Angel Acosta moves up from 10 to 9 with impressive stoppage of Carlos Buitrago.  Buitrago moves up from Strawweight to 22.  Gilberto Pedroza drops from 18 to out after getting stopped by novice Masamichi Yabuki.  Suriyan Satorn drops from 20 to out after losing to Siridech Deebook in their rematch.  Deebook enters at 25.  Reiya Konishi enters at 24.  Abraham Rodriguez drops from 25 to out.

Straws – Buitrago moves from 10 to out after moving up and challenging for WBO Junior Fly title.  Vince Paras enters at 25. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Boxing Podcast With Writer Adam Abramowitz

My guest on this podcast is Adam Abramowitz, a writer for the excellent boxing blog Saturday Night Boxing.  Adam is also on the board of the independent media run Transnational Boxing Ratings, as well as The Ring ratings panel.  

We spoke about his recent article on the influx of streaming networks into the sport of boxing, titled "Hearn, Top Rank and the New American Boxing Paradigm".  We also got into where cable broadcasting in general is going and how that affects the sport.  It was a great conversation.

To check out Adam's work on boxing go to www.saturdaynightboxing.com.  You can also catch up with Adam on Twitter at @snboxing.

Enjoy the podcast.  You can listen to it on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.  Please leave a comment or a rating, I would very much appreciate it.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - May 2018

Presenting the May 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings:
Movements:

Heavys – Kubrat Pulev moves from 7 to out due to inactivity.  Jarrell Miller moves from 11 to 9 with win over top 25 fighter Johann Duhaupas.  David Haye drops from 15 to 18 due to crushing loss to Tony Bellew.  Artur Szpilka enters at 25.

Cruisers – Andrew Tabiti moves from 9 to 8 with win over Lateef Kayode.  

Light Heavys - Jean Pascal reenters from retired to 11 with announcement of comeback.  Lucien Bute moves from 17 to out due to inactivity.  Chad Dawson moves from 19 to out due to inactivity.  Thomas Oosthuizen moves from 22 to out due to inactivity.  Yunieski Gonzalez moves from 24 to out due to inactivity.  Callum Johnson, Felix Velera and Enrico Koelling enter at 23, 24 and 25 respectively.  

Super Middles - Jesse Hart moves from 12 to 10 with win over Demond Nicholson.  Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. moves from 18 to out due to inactivity.  Azizbek Abdugofurov enters at 23 with win over Dmitrii Chudinov.  Vincent Feigenbutz enters at 25.  J'Leon Love moves from 24 to out after struggling with Jaime Barboza.

Middles - Tommy Langford moves from 18 to out after dropping split decision to Jason Welborn.  Vanes Matirosyan moves from inactive to 19 after KO loss to GGG.  Jack Culcay enters at 20 after moving up from 154 division.  Curtis Stevens moves from 21 to out due to inactivity.

Jr. Middles - Sadam Ali drops from 6 to 13 after crushing TKO loss to Jaime Munguia.  Munguia enters at 7 with WBO title win.  Jack Culcay moves from 12 to out due to move up to 160.  Tony Harrison moves from 14 to 12 with win over Ishe Smith.  Smith drops from 13 to 17 with the loss.  Konstantin Ponomarev enters at 16 after moving up from 147 division.  Dennis Hogan moves to 25 with win over Jimmy Kilrain Kelly.  Terrell Gausha moves from 23 to out. Antonio Margarito moves from 25 to out.

Welters – Konstantin Ponomarev moves from 13 to out due to move to 154.  Bradley Skeete moves from 14 to 23 due to knockout loss to Kermin Lejarraga.  Lejarraga enters at 15.  Egidijus Kavaliauskas moves from 16 to 10 on reconsideration.  Carlos Adames moves from 22 to 19 with win over Alejandro Barrera.  Francisco Santana enters at 25 with upset win over Felix Diaz in WBC Welterweight Tournament.  Carlos Ocampo drops from 25 to out.

Jr. Welters – Mikey Garcia moves from 1 to out as he's decided to vacate his 140 lb. belt and move back down to 135.  Felix Diaz moves from 7 to out with his upset loss at 147 to Francisco Santana.  Argenis Mendez enters at 16 after moving up from 135 and convincingly beating prospect Eddie Ramirez.  Alex Saucedo enters at 25.

Lights – Vasyl Lomachenko enters at 1 with win brilliant TKO win over Jorge Linares.  Isa Chaniev enters at 15 with unanimous win over Ismael Barroso.  Barroso moves from 15 to out.  Francisco Rojo moves from 24 to out due to move up to 140.  Simpiwe Vetyeka enters at 23 after move up from 126.  Hank Lundy enters at 25.

Jr. Lights - Vasyl Lomachenko moves from 1 to out due to move up to 135.  James Tenneson enters at 23 after come from behind TKO victory over Martin Joseph Ward.  Ward moves from 24 to out.  Christopher Diaz enters at 25.

Feathers - Josh Warrington moves from 8 to 6 with upset win over Lee Selby for the IBF crown.  Selby drops from 6 to 7.  Tugstsogt Nyambar enters at 12 with impressive TKO win over Oscar Escandon.  Escandon drops from 12 to 19.  Simpiwe Vetyeka moves from 14 to out due to move up to 135.  Takenori Ohashi moves from 19 to out after getting stopped by Taiki Minamoto.  Minamoto enters at 20.  Claudio Marrero moves from 22 to 18 with devastating 1st round KO of previously unbeaten Jorge Lara.  Lara moves from 24 to out.  Shun Kubo enters at 25.

Jr. Feathers – Isaac Dogboe moves from 7 to 2 with impressive stoppage of Jesse Magdaleno to capture the WBO title.  Magdaleno drops from 2 to 4.  Julio Ceja drops from 5 to 15 after upset stoppage loss to Franklin Manzanilla.  Manzanilla enters at 7.  Jonathan Guzman moves from 12 to out due to inactivity.  Evgeny Gradovich moves from 14 to out due to inactivity.  Shun Kubo moves from 19 to out due to move up to 126.  Edivaldo Ortega moves from 21 to out due to move up to 126.  TJ Doheny, Ryo Matsumoto, Albert Pagana and Thomas Patrick Ward enter at 22-25 respectively.

Bantams – Naoya Inoue moves from 5 to 2 after devastating blowout of Jamie McDonnell for the WBA Regular belt.  McDonnell drops from 2 to 6.  Emmanuel Rodriguez moves from 16 to 5 with dominating win over Paul Butler for the IBF belt.  Butler drops from 8 to 10.  Shohei Omori moves from 17 to out due to inactivity.  Jason Moloney moves from 25 to 17 with impressive stoppage of former world title holder Kohei Kono.  Aaron Alameda enters at 25.

Super Flys - Donnie Nietes enters at 6 after moving up from 112.  Miguel Gonzalez moves from 25 to out.

Flys – Donnie Nietes moves from 1 to out due to move up to 115.  Juan Hernandez Navarrete moves from 10 to out due to inactivity.  Froilan Saludar moves from 17 to out due to move up to 115.  Mirco Martin, Muhammed Waseem and Thomas Masson enter at 23-25 respectively.

Jr. Flys – Hekki Budler moves from 7 to 2 with upset win over unified WBA-IBF champion Ryoichi Taguchi.  Taguchi moves from 2 to 3.  Ganigan Lopez drops from 4 to 6 after 2nd round blowout loss to WBC Champ Ken Shiro.  Ryuji Hara moves from 14 to out due to move up to 112.  Alejandro Villasenor Hernandez enters at 24 after upset win over previously unbeaten Abraham Rodriguez.

Straws – Ryuji Hara moves from 17 to out due to move up to 112.  Osvaldo Novoa moves from 20 to out due to inactivity.  Reiya Konishi moves from 22 to out due to move up to 108.  Shin Ono, Toto Landero and Mark Barriga enter at 23-25 respectively.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Eric Molina Suspended for Two Years by UKAD

The UK National Anti-Doping Panel ("NADP") upheld the two-year suspension levied by UK Anti-Doping ("UKAD") on two-time heavyweight world title challenger Eric Molina, who tested positive for the banned substance Dexamethasone ("Dex") after his December 10, 2016 title challenge against Anthony Joshua.  Molina had appealed the provisional suspension that UKAD handed down on October 28, 2017.

Molina was cooperative with UKAD in that he did not request his B sample to be tested and admitted to using a supplement that contained Dex.  Molina stated in an interview with UKAD in September 2017, that he had a member of his team inject him in his "rear" with a product called Tribedoce DX.  Molina further stated that his brother purchased the supplement in Mexico and he thought it was just an ordinary shot of B12 vitamin.  Dex was clearly listed on the label as one of the ingredients. 

Dex is an anti-inflammatory that comes under the category of Glucocortoids and is on WADA's banned substance list when used in-competition only.  It is generally used for treatment of allergic disorders, skin conditions and breathing disorders, so out of competition use would not be considered a violation.  However, studies have shown that it can have performance enhancing effects in regards to stamina, among other benefits.

Due to Molina's cooperation, UKAD did not assert that his actions were intentional or that he was looking to cheat.  Due to the lack of intent, the starting point for a suspension would be two years under the WADA Code.  The case hinged on whether Molina's actions could reduce that penalty by falling under ADR article 10.4 where there is No Fault or Negligence or 10.5 where is No Significant Fault or Negligence.

The NADP determined that 10.4 was not applicable as, under the commentary to the WADA Code, this section is only applicable where there has been "some type of spiking or sabotage."  Molina did not claim any spiking or sabotage.

The NADP also held that 10.5 did not apply.  The UKAD actually helped the NADP out by pointing them to a CAS case between tennis player Marin Cilic and the International Tennis Federation where the range of sanctions a panel may consider for a No Significant Fault or Negligence reduction is laid out. 

Because the NADP determined that Molina "simply ignored all risks, failed to act with the utmost caution and shows 'a significant degree of or considerable fault'" - this put him in the 16 to 24 month bracket.  The "standard" sanction, according to the Cilic case, was 20 months.  But the NADP did not believe this case was "standard".  Instead, because Molina used a new source in Mexico and made "absolutely no checks whatsoever as to what was in that supplement" and Molina chose not to actively participate in the appeal - the NADP determined that it had no material evidence to consider dropping him below the standard suspension of two years.  Thus, the NADP upheld UKAD's two-year suspension of Molina.

The suspension was backdated to when the provisional suspension was enacted, October 28, 2017, so Molina will only have to sit out until after October 27, 2019.

TAKEAWAYS
  • This is a classic case of a boxer using a supplement without any regard for the WADA code.  Molina had been drug tested before and knew the procedure but still used a product that listed a banned substance on its label.  Boxers should not use supplements unless they have someone on their team who is very familiar with WADA protocol.  Alternatively, they can reach out to VADA or an affiliated organization who can answer any questions about the supplement.  Things like Vitamin B12 shots are very common in the sport but unless you are dealing with a medical professional who is well-versed in the WADA code, it's not something you should do on your own.
  • It obviously hurt Molina quite a bit that he had no legal representation and presented no evidence.  Even though he had some very bad facts against him, a competent doping lawyer probably could have gotten the suspension reduced down to 20 months or lower. 
  • Adjudication of this case was ridiculously slow by UKAD.  The decision does not go into the specifics of when Molina was notified of his positive test but he gave the sample in the early morning of December 11, 2016.  They apparently interviewed him in September 2017 and then provisionally suspended him in late October 2017.  His appeal was not adjudicated until late May 2018.  That's nearly 18 months after he gave his sample.  That's way too much time.  Contrast that with how quickly Canelo's case was resolved (sample given in February, settled in April).  There were folks who complained that Canelo's case dragged on too long - no comparison to Molina's.
See NAPD opinion below:

Friday, May 11, 2018

Golovkin and Derevyanchenko Battle Over IBF Exception - Title Likely At Stake

Counsel for Unified Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin and IBF No.1 mandatory contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Derev) have submitted their arguments to the IBF on an appeal made by Golovkin's team of the Exception the IBF issued on April 27 and clarified on May 1.  Golovkin is being represented on appeal by veteran boxing attorney Patrick English.  Derevyanchenko is repped by DiBella Entertainment's counsel Alex Dombroff.

The IBF's Exception allowed Golovkin to fight Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 and still retain his IBF title even though the IBF refused to sanction the bout.  The Exception also gave Golovkin 90 days from May 5 within which to fight Derev (deadline Friday, August 3, 2018).  The May 1 clarification left open the possibility that Golovkin could fight a unification bout with Canelo (?!) that would not require an exception.  This appears to be an error in the clarification as Canelo does not hold a title belt of a sanctioning body recognized by the IBF (only the WBA, WBC and WBO are so recognized).  Presumably, Golovkin could sneak in a fight with WBO Champion Billy Joe Saunders though ahead of Derev.

Nonetheless, Golovkin's counsel argued that IBF Rule 11G allowed him as the "affected participant" of a granted Exception the right to appeal.  Counsel further argued that the IBF misconstrued the application for Exception as one to avoid the mandatory obligation, when in fact, it was solely to allow the unsanctioned bout.

One of the main points Golovkin's counsel tried to drive home was that unified champions make mandatory defenses using a rotational system where each sanctioning body's mandatory is made in turn and the traditional time limits on mandatory defenses defer to that system.  Counsel argued that the IBF's mandatory is not due as the WBC is next.  Because the Canelo bout was delayed, the WBC mandatory is still the next one due.  Even if the Canelo bout had taken place on May 5, counsel reasoned that IBF Rule 5E states "the mandatory due date of the IBF Champion will be nine (9) months from the completion of the mandatory bout for the World Organization ahead of the IBF in line."

Golovkin's counsel also argued that the 90-day deadline violates IBF rules for the timing of negotiations and purse bids as the combined time allotted in the rules would exceed 90 days.  Counsel also noted that Golovkin is an innocent party who should not be punished for Canelo's sins.

In their reply papers, Derev's counsel argued that Golovkin did not have standing to appeal under Rule 11G as the "affected participant" referred to in the rule is Derev, not Golovkin.  Rule 11C refers to an "applicant" and an "affected participant" and counsel noted that the IBF reached out to Derev to allow him to respond to the application for Exception, thus designating Derev the "affected participant".

Beyond the standing issue, Derev's counsel disputed that the WBC mandatory was still due in the rotational system and not the IBF's.  Counsel argued that Canelo was the WBC mandatory and when he was rendered unavailable, Golvokin was allowed by the WBC to fight Martirosyan instead.  If the WBC were to get a second bite at the mandatory apple, there is a real possibility that it can be delayed again, in which case Derev would be forced to wait even longer.  Counsel argued that this is just a thinly veiled attempt to preserve the lucrative Canelo rematch without having to satisfy the IBF mandatory obligation.

Derev's counsel then addressed the alleged violation of IBF rules by the Exception's 90-day deadline.  Counsel pointed out that under Rule 11D, the IBF Board had discretion to determine "what conditions shall apply" in deciding the Exception.  Counsel also cited previous Exceptions where the Board had set similar 90-day deadlines.  Counsel also gave an example where Golovkin fought twice within a 90-day span on HBO to demonstrate the ability to make the fight within those time constraints.

Derev's counsel concluded by arguing that Derev is also an innocent party and should not have to wait any longer to receive his shot.  Counsel also argued that Golovkin is not entitled under IBF rules to receive two Exceptions to avoid his mandatory obligation.

The hearing to decide Golovkin's appeal is scheduled for May 22.

See Golovkin's Letter below:


See Derevyanchenko's Letter below:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Boxing Podcast With Attorney Rick Collins

My guest on this podcast is Rick Collins, a founding partner at the law firm of Collins, Gann McCloskey & Barry.  Rick practices in the area of sports nutrition and PEDs and is one of the foremost attorneys in the area of anti-doping law.   

We spoke about the recent doping cases involving Canelo Alvarez and Alexander Povetkin, as well as what an ideal anti-doping program in boxing would look like.  It was a great conversation - enjoy!

To check out Rick's site that tracks developments in doping law go to www.steroidlaw.com.  You can look Rick up at his firm Collins, Gann McCloskey & Barry.

Enjoy the podcast.  You can listen to it on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.  Please leave a comment or a rating, I would very much appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

District Judge Denies Shane Mosley's Summary Judgment Motion in Dispute with Bobby Hitz Promotions

Federal District Judge Michael Fitzgerald of the Central District of California recently denied Shane Mosley and his promotional company GoBox Promotions, Inc.'s ("GBP") Summary Judgment motion in their dispute with Bobby Hitz' promotional entity, Hitz Entertainment Corporation ("HEC"), over cruiserweight prospect Dimar Ortuz' promotional rights.

Recall that HEC filed its complaint in February 2017 alleging that Mosley and GBP had tortiously interfered with HEC's promotional contract ("Promo") with Ortuz.  HEC had allegedly given Ortuz permission to fight on a reality TV show called "Knockout" where Mosley served as a trainer.  As HEC was negotiating with the TV show's representatives, Mosley allegedly promoted an Ortuz fight on the Mosley-Mayorga PPV undercard, as well as two subsequent Ortuz bouts, without HEC's permission.

The Court denied Mosley's motion as to both of HEC's causes of action, tortious interference with contractual relations ("TICR") and tortious interference with prospective business advantage ("TIPBA"), on the basis that HEC had established a dispute of material fact.  The Court issued a caveat on the TIPBA claim that HEC "offered an extremely narrow basis for finding the alleged conduct was independently tortious.  Indeed, so narrow . . . that the claims have become virtually duplicative.  As a technical matter, both claims survive this Motion, but the Court does not intend to give HEC two bites at the apple.  It is highly unlikely that HEC will be permitted to recover on both claims."

Mosley attacked HEC's TICR claim on the basis that HEC did not have a valid contract with Ortuz.  Mosley claimed that HEC materially breached the Promo by not offering Ortuz the requisite number of bouts per year as the offers had to specifically "be in writing and include the name of the proposed opponent and the gross purse amount."  Mosley argued that HEC's material breach of the Promo would invalidate the contract and excuse any of Ortuz' subsequent breaches of fighting for GBP.

The Court found that even if HEC technically did not make the requisite amount of offers in writing, as HEC claimed to make some verbal offers, this was not a material breach.  The Court stated, "at the very least, failure to make an offer in writing (as opposed to verbally) or to state the purse amount in the offer does not seem to be the kind of breach regarding which 'reasonable minds cannot differ' as to materiality."

The Court also did not buy Mosley's argument that HEC had "unclean hands" and tried to profit off of Ortuz' participation in the GBP promoted fights.  Thus, the Court denied Mosley's Motion as to the TICR claim.

The Court also found that HEC's TIPBA claim held up because there was a dispute of material fact as to whether Mosley and GBP also interfered with the contract between Ortuz and the TV producers of "Knockout".

See Opinion below:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - April 2018

Presenting the April 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings:

Movements:

Heavys – Dillian White moved from 7 to 6 with crushing win over Lucas Browne.  Browne falls from 17 to 25.  Agit Kabayal moves from 19 to 17 with win over Miljan Rovcanin.

Cruisers – Mateusz Masternak moves from 19 to 14 with stoppage win over Youri Kalenga.  Kalenga moves from 25 to out.  Danny Green moves from 24 to out due to inactivity.  Arsen Goulamirian and Roman Golovashchenko move up to 24 and 25 respectively.

Light Heavys - Karo Murat moves up from 13 to 11 with win over Travis Reeves.  

Super Middles - James DeGale moves from 8 to 3 with win over Caleb Truax.  Truax falls from 7 to 8.  Tyron Zeuge moves from 16 to 14 with TKO win over Isaac Ekpo.

Middles - Canelo Alvarez drops from 2 to out due to suspension.  Avtandil Khurtsidze drops from 11 to out due to inactivity.   Walter Kautondokwa and Jason Quigley move up to 23 and 24 with wins.

Jr. Middles - Jarrett Hurd seizes the top spot and moves from 3 to 1 with great win over Erislandy Lara.  Lara falls from 1 to 3.  Michel Soro moves up from 11 to 10 with win over unbeaten John Vera.  Sam Eggington enters at 24 with win at 154.  Roberto Garcia drops from 25 to out.

Welters – Keith Thurman moves from 1 to out due to inactivity.  Amir Khan moves from inactive to 9 with comeback win over Phil LoGreco.  Luis Collazo and Andre Berto drop from 12 and 13 to out due to inactivity.  Sam Eggington goes from 17 to out due to move up to 154.  Victor Ortiz, Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo and Carlos Ocampo enters at 23, 24, and 25.

Jr. Welters – Ismael Barroso moves from 18 to out due to move back to 135.  Yves Ulysse, Jr. enters at 25.

Lights – Jose Pedraza enters at 13 after move up to 135 and win.  Aik Shakhnazaryan from 14 to out due to move to 140.  Ismael Barroso enters at 15 after move down from 140.  Lewis Ritson from 25 to 22 with win over Scott Cardle.  Daud Yordan enters at 25 with win over unbeaten Pavel Malikov.  Sharif Bogere and Hurricane Futa drop from 23 and 24 to out.

Jr. Lights - Jose Pedraza moves from 12 to out due to move up to 135.  Kenichi Ogawa moves from 13 to out due to suspension.  Jesus Cuellar moves from inactive to 13 though he was stopped by Gervonta Davis.  Evgeny Chuprakov enters at 25.

Feathers - No movements.

Jr. Feathers – Yusaku Kuga moves up from 21 to 17 with win over Ryo Kosaka.

Bantams – Omar Narvaez moves down two spots from 7 to 9 after non-effort against Zolani Tete.  Michael Dasmarinas enters at 12 with stoppage win over Karim Guerfi.  Guerfi drops from 16 to 20.  Suriyan Kaikanha drops from 21 to out for inactivity.

Super Flys -  Jose Martinez drops from 25 to out due to gift draw.  Miguel Gonzalez enters at 25.

Flys – Christopher Rosales moves from 12 to 2 with TKO win over Daigo Higa.  Higa drops from 2 to 4.  Francisco Rodriguez moves from 11 to out for move up to Super Fly.  Martin Tecuapetla drops from 22 to out as I missed his December loss to Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar.  Giemel Magramo enters at 25.

Jr. Flys – Japhet Uutoni drops from 21 to out due to inactivity.  Suryan Satorn goes from inactive to 21 with win over Siridech Deebook.

Straws – No movements.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

World of Boxing and Povetkin Win Summary Judgment Motion, Awarded $4.3M in Escrow in Wilder Dispute

In an opinion that stunned the Deontay Wilder camp, Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein held that in spite of a jury verdict that Alexander Povetkin had ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016 and though he undisputedly tested positive for Meldonium on April 27, 2016 in a VADA random test, Povetkin did not breach the Bout Agreement (BA) and thus denied Wilder's Motion for Summary Judgment on his breach of contract claim.  Further, because there was no breach of the BA, Wilder's $4.3 million escrowed purse for the aborted Wilder-Povetkin bout was returned to Povetkin's promoter World of Boxing (WOB).  Wilder presumably will appeal the decision.

BACKGROUND

Wilder was scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his WBC Heavyweight title against Povetkin in mid-2016.  The negotiations for the fight were contentious and the bout went to purse bids.  WOB won the purse bid in the amount of $7.15M.  Though the purses were decided, there still needed to be a final BA and once again the parties had trouble coming to an agreement.  One of the big points of contention was the language over whether the promoters would be required to "produce" their respective fighters for the fight.

Eventually the WBC was brought in to mediate and ultimately drafted the BA.  The final BA provided that WBC rules would govern the "event in its entirety and shall be binding on all parties . . . [i]n the event the Parties incur any dispute or controversy with respect to this contract, all parties understand and agree to be bound by the Rules and Regulations of the WBC."  The WBC's rules regarding PEDs state that "[b]oxers . . . should not take, ingest, or have administered . . . any substance . . . that may enhance or reduce the boxer's performance."  The rules leave the WBC with sole discretion to determine penalties and provide that they do not "adhere to a 'strict liability' standard in anti-doping matters."

The parties also entered into an Escrow Agreement (EA) for Wilder's purse, which is standard in international title fights.  The EA provided that the funds would be disbursed to Wilder after the fight if he submitted an affidavit stating the fight happened along with a copy of an article from www.fightnews.com.  Similarly, if the fight did not happen, WOB would get the escrow funds if they submitted an affidavit to that effect, plus an article from www.fightnews.com.  The escrow agent was forbidden from disbursing the money if either party objected to the disbursement in "good faith".  If the objection was not in "good faith" there was a liquidated damages penalty of $2.5M.

The parties agreed to VADA testing before the fight.  Povetkin's first three tests came back negative but his fourth test on April 27, 2016 came back positive at 70 nanograms per milliliter for Meldonium.  VADA informed the WBC on May 13, 2016 of the positive test and the WBC announced that they would conduct "an in-depth investigation of this matter."  Meldonium was placed on WADA's Prohibited List on January 1, 2016.  However, in a June 30, 2016 notice, WADA stated that if the concentration in a sample were found to be less than one microgram per milliliter, there would be a finding of no fault for any sample taken between January 1 and September 30, 2016.  Povetkin's sample was below one microgram per milliliter.

Wilder was in London preparing for the bout when Povetkin's positive test was made public.  Wilder's lawyer, John Wirt, emailed the WBC on May 14, stating that Wilder considered WOB and Povetkin in breach of the BA.  On May 15, the WBC announced that they were postponing the fight and would continue to investigate the case.  Wirt emailed the escrow agent on the same day and objected to any disbursement of the escrow funds.  Wilder's side considered the fight cancelled, not postponed, and stated so in the press.  Ultimately, in June 2016 both Wilder and WOB/Povetkin would file suits against each other.  Wilder sued for breach of both the BA and the EA.  WOB/Povetkin sued for breach of the BA and EA, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and also defamation.

The WBC allowed Wilder to make an optional defense against Chris Arreola on July 16, 2016. Wilder won but broke his arm and tore a bicep in the fight.  He was sidelined until January 2017.  On August 17, 2016, the WBC announced its ruling on Povetkin's failed drug test.  It stated it had "called the Bout off . . . until the ongoing investigation [] concluded."  The WBC ruled that it was not possible to "ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016."  This ruling was presumably based on WADA's statement that samples below one microgram were "no fault" findings if collected between January 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016.

Wilder appealed the WBC's ruling and the WBC then stated that if Wilder prevailed at trial, the WBC would afford Povetkin the opportunity to show that the trial's result was not based on a finding that he ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.

On December 23, 2016, Judge Gorenstein ordered that the trial be limited to one issue - whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium on or after January 1, 2016.  In February 2017, the trial was held and after hearing expert testimony from both sides, the jury found that Povetkin had ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  Povetkin/WOB filed a motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law but the motion was denied on April 26, 2017.

In the meantime, Povetkin had a bout for the interim WBC title scheduled for December 17, 2016.  The bout was postponed, once again due to a positive drug test, this time for Ostarine.  The WBC then issued a new ruling on March 2, 2017, suspending Povetkin indefinitely in acknowledgement of both the jury's verdict and his positive test for Ostarine.

Povetkin appealed the WBC's ruling and on November 7, 2017.  Once again the WBC flip-flopped and stated that "notwithstanding the specific finding of the jury in the New York Litigation, the WBC continues to adhere to its ruling of August 17, 2016 that it is not possible to ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016."  The WBC amended Povetkin's indefinite suspension to a one year suspension from the date of his positive test for Ostarine. 

Both Wilder and Povetkin/WOB filed summary judgment motions after the conclusion of trial in this case in late 2017.

DECISION

The Court addressed the breach of contract claim against Povetkin first.  The Court immediately acknowledged that the jury trial conclusively determined that Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  It also acknowledged that Povetkin tested positive on April 27, 2016 during VADA's testing.  The Court then dropped the bomb that neither of these events constituted a breach of the BA.

The Court, in essence, held that because the parties submitted to the whims of the WBC's anti-doping rules, which leave penalties solely in the discretion of the WBC, any decision the WBC made was dispositive.  The WBC's final decision on November 7, 2017 that, in spite of the jury verdict to the contrary and Judge Carter's affirmation of that verdict, it was not possible to determine whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016, doomed Wilder's breach of contract claim.  The Court cited the WBC's rules of not applying a strict liability standard and their discretion to determine whether a boxer was responsible for violating its anti-doping policy. 

The Court rejected Wilder's argument that the WBC did not have discretion to decide whether Povetkin violated the BA because the SDNY Court was the forum designated for dispute resolution.  The Court held that the forum selection clause did not address any issue of contract interpretation and the parties ceded substantial control over performance of the BA to the WBC. 

The Court also rejected Wilder's argument that the Court had stated in a previous hearing that the WBC did not retain discretion to decide if Povetkin violated the anti-doping provisions of the BA.  At the aforementioned hearing, The Court had rejected WOB's argument that submitting the ingestion question to the jury would amount to an "advisory opinion".  The Court reasoned then that ingestion was an "issue in the case" and that the jury's verdict would be "binding".  The Court now held that though Wilder asserted that a verdict of ingestion proved a breach of contract, the Court now rejected this argument following the briefing in the case.

Thus, the Court granted Povetkin and WOB's motion for summary judgment on Wilder's breach of contract claim.

The Court then examined Wilder's breach of contract claim against WOB and also found no breach.  Though WOB was contractually obligated by the BA to promote the bout and provide Povetkin's services, both of which they failed to do, the Court reasoned that the BA gave the WBC "complete power over the Bout's staging."  The Court cited the BA's provisions that gave the WBC the ability to withdraw sanction of the bout and its authority to cancel or change the date of the bout as evidence of control.  The Court stated that the WBC's postponement of the bout on May 15 after Povetkin's positive test superseded WOB's obligation to promote the bout on May 21.  

The Court then distinguished a very similar case that it had decided just four years ago, World of Boxing LLC v. King.  In that case, Guillermo Jones tested positive for a PED on the eve of a WBA Cruiserweight title bout.  WOB was the promoter of Denis Lebedev, Jones' opponent for the match.  WOB sued Jones' promoter, Don King, on the very same grounds Wilder sued WOB, breach of contract for failing to produce the fighter due to a positive drug test.  The Court in King, found that King had breached the bout agreement because the WBA rules, which were incorporated by the bout agreement, required suspension from the ratings of any boxer who tested positive and because Jones had previously tested positive for PEDs, it was foreseeable he'd do so.

Here, the Court reasoned that the BA gave the WBC discretion to determine if a doping violation occurred and to make decisions about whether the bout would be held on the date in the BA.  For those reasons, the Court found that WOB did not breach the BA and granted WOB's summary judgment on Wilder's breach of contract claim.

The Court dismissed Povetkin and WOB's breach of contract claims against Wilder because of lack of causation.  The Court found that any damages suffered were attributable to Povetkin's positive test and the WBC's postponement of the bout and failure to reschedule it.  Because the WBC unequivocally stated that Povetkin's positive test was their reason for postponing the bout, any action by Wilder was secondary to the that.  Thus, the Court granted Wilder's motion for summary judgment on Povetkin and WOB's claim for breach of contract.

The Court granted Wilder's summary judgment motion on Povetkin and WOB's breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing for similar reasons.  The Court found that nothing in the record supported an inference that the bout was postponed or canceled due to any action by Wilder. 

The Court then addressed the escrow fund claims as both parties sought summary judgment to take possession of the $4,369,365 in escrow that was supposed to be Wilder's purse.  The Court ruled that WOB was entitled to the escrow funds because Wilder had not proven a breach of the BA, which was his reason for objecting to the return of the funds to WOB post-bout cancellation.  The EA provided that if the bout did not take place, the escrow would be sent back to WOB.  Thus, the Court awarded the $4,369,365 in escrow to WOB.

The Court also denied WOB's claim for liquidated damages under the EA.  The Court found that WOB failed to carry its burden of proving that Wilder's objections to release of the escrow back to WOB were not made in good faith.  The Court found that the EA did not make any limitations on the grounds that an objection could be made, only that it must be made in good faith. 

The Court had previously stayed WOB's defamation claims and did not opine on them here.

TAKEAWAYS

This was a case that appeared to be mishandled by many of the entities involved including WADA, the WBC and the Court for the Southern District of New York.  

WADA issued two modifications to the placing of Meldonium on the Prohibited List that ultimately changed the outcome of the case.  They moved the goalposts on what was considered a "no fault" test from: 1) no threshold for a violation to more than one microgram per milliliter; and 2) absolved positives from samples taken between January 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016.  This wrecked havoc on this case.

The WBC's indecisiveness and constant bending to the whims of each party also created complete uncertainty in this case.  The fact that they ignored a jury verdict that Povetkin ingested Meldonium and maintained that they could not "ascertain whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium" seems like an injustice to Wilder.

The SDNY Court seemingly bungled by ordering a limited trial on a single issue in what was a fairly complex case and then blatantly ignoring the verdict and ruling there was no breach of contract.  Why have a trial on ingestion if it didn't pertain to breach of the contract, which was the crux of the case?

This case exposes the fractured nature of the sport of boxing, especially in regards to the consistency of its anti-doping regulations.  In 2014, the SDNY held a promoter responsible for breach of contract because he couldn't produce his fighter due to a positive for a PED on the eve of a title bout.  Part of the reason was because the WBA rules provided for an automatic suspension of a fighter who tested positive.  In 2018, the SDNY held that a promoter was not in breach of contract even though his fighter also could not be produced for the bout due to a positive PED sample.  The reason being the WBC drafted the BA and incorporated its rules which do not adhere to a "strict liability" policy in regards to positive PED tests and give them great discretion in deciding penalties.

Boxing's anti-doping situation is clouded by different sanctioning bodies, different standards, and different results even with similar sets of facts.  Imagine if GGG were to sue Canelo for breach of contract over his positive test.  Which rules would apply for a unified champion - WBA, WBC or IBF?  They all apply different standards in regards to anti-doping policy.

It would be nice if the major promoters got together and formed a boxing league and set out a clear and uniform set of anti-doping rules, similar to the UFC's use of USADA.  This would bring some clarity to what is currently a messy state of inconsistency.

See the opinion below:



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Judge Denies Top Rank's Summary Judgment Motion in Middendorf Sports, Terence Crawford Case

Earlier this month in U.S. Federal Court, District of Nebraska, Judge John Gerrard emphatically denied Defendant Top Rank's Motion for Summary Judgment regarding the duration of the Promotional Agreement (PA) and Release in the case brought against them by Plaintiff Middendorf Sports (incorrectly spelled Mittendorf in the opinion).

The dispute involves a breach of contract alleged by Middendorf over an agreement by Top Rank to pay Middendorf fees on Terence Crawford's world title defenses.  Crawford was initially promoted by TKO Boxing Promotions, an entity in which Middendorf was a partner.  TKO ran into financial difficulties and assigned Crawford's contract to Middendorf Sports.  Middendorf then entered into a Release with Crawford allowing him to sign with Top Rank in exchange for a fee to be paid to Middendorf equal to 8% of Crawford's purses for any world title defenses promoted by Top Rank pursuant to the PA.

After Crawford became a world champion in March 2014, Top Rank duly paid Middendorf its agreed upon fees once Crawford started making title defenses.  In September 2014, Top Rank and Crawford renegotiated their agreement and entered into a Restated Promotional Rights Agreement (RPA).  Top Rank continued to pay Middendorf for Crawford's next three title defenses.  But in July 2016, Crawford fought a title unification bout against fellow Junior Welterweight Champion Victor Postal.  Middendorf alleges that Top Rank refused to pay the fees for the Postal fight claiming that it was a "unification fight" and not a "title defense".  Middendorf further alleges that Top Rank has failed to pay the fees for any Crawford title defense subsequent to the Postal fight.

Middendorf brought suit in January 2017.

Top Rank argued in their Summary Judgment Motion that once the original PA was terminated and they entered into the RPA, their obligation to pay fees to Middendorf ended.  Middendorf argued that the Release contained no term and did not expire at a fixed time.  Judge Gerrard opined that Top Rank's interpretation was "not supported by basic principles of contract interpretation . . . . Contract interpretation is a question of law, and if the language of the contract is clear and unambiguous, it will be enforced as written."  Judge Gerrard held that the phrase in the Release stating that Top Rank and Crawford would "enter into a promotional rights agreement" was open ended and did not specify a particular promotional rights agreement.

Top Rank further argued that interpreting the Release to have no fixed term would be allowing for a contract in perpetuity.  Judge Gerrard held that the contract obligation was not perpetual because "whether or not the obligation continued was in [Top Rank's] control."

Thus, the Court denied Top Rank's motion and found, as a matter of law and not as a question of fact for the jury, that "the unambiguous language of the Agreement and Release obliges Top Rank to pay Mittendorf (sic) eight percent of Crawford's purse for any Crawford title defense that Top Rank promotes pursuant to a promotional rights agreement."

This was a big win for Middendorf.  This was coupled with similarly strong language from another opinion issued by the Court on the same day denying a Motion in Limine by Top Rank to exclude the expert testimony of promoter/attorney Leon Margoles.  In that opinion, the Court stated that extrinsic evidence of the definition of the phrase "title defense" might be inadmissible because "the term isn't ambiguous."  The Court seems to have a clear reading of the language of the PA and Release in this case and it is seeing things Middendorf's way.

Next up in the discovery phase of this case is Terence Crawford's deposition.

See MSJ Opinion below:

See Motion in Limine Opinion re: Margoles Expert Testimony below:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Judge Denies Motion To Compel Production Of Attorney Emails In Wilder Case

Earlier this month, Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein denied Defendants World of Boxing (WOB) and Alexander Povetkin's Motion to Compel production of emails from Plaintiff Deontay Wilder's attorney John Wirt.

The Court held that the emails, all dated May 25, 2016, were attorney work product and therefore privileged communications that Wilder was entitled to withhold.  The emails had been inadvertently produced to Defendants in the course of discovery, but when Defendants tried to use them as exhibits at deposition, Wilder's attorneys invoked the "claw back" provision of the protective order that the parties had agreed to.

The emails in question were either sent by Wirt, who was Wilder's representative in negotiations, or were sent in response to Wirt's email.  Wirt's original email analyzed WOB's mid-May explanation for Povetkin's positive test for Meldonium and discussed possible responses to it.  Because Wirt's email was prepared in anticipation of litigation and was discussed amongst Wilder's promoter and manager, the Court determined that these emails qualified as attorney work product and Wilder could withhold them.  Thus, Defendants' Motion to Compel production was denied.

There are dueling summary judgment motions pending filed by each party that I've covered in previous articles here and here.  The world awaits District Judge Andrew Carter's decision.

See Opinion below:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - March 2018

Presenting the March 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings.

Lots of activity around the world and in the top 25 of most divisions this month.  Only the Junior Middleweight ratings stayed static.

Movements:

Heavys – Andy Ruiz moved up from inactive to 13 with win over Devin Vargas.  Miljan Rovcanin moved out.

Cruisers – Kevin Lerena moves from 11 to 10 with win over Dmytro Kucher. Marco Huck moves down from 10 to 11.  Mike Perez moves from 18 to 15 with win.  Matty Askin moves from 24 to 22 with win.

Light Heavys - Dmitriy Bivol moves from 10 to 4 with impressive win over Sullivan Barrera.  Barrera moves down to 5.  Edwin Rodriguez moves up from 16 to 14 with win over tough Lionel Thompson.  Humberto Velazco Torres enters at 20 with KO of Thomas Williams.  Williams drops from 14 to out with his third consecutive loss.  Isaac Chilemba moves up from inactive to 21 with win over Blake Capparello.  Frank Buglioni drops from 25 to out.

Super Middles - Jose Uzcategui moves up from 7 to 3 with TKO over Andre Dirrell.  Dirrell drops from 4 to 11.  Chris Eubank drops from 3 to 9 after bad form loss to George Groves.  Juergen Braehmer drops from 8 to 10 for once again ducking out of a big fight.  Caleb Plant moves up to 25 with win over tough Porky Medina.  Renold Quinlan drops out.

Middles - Andy Lee drops from 10 to out due to retirement announcement.  Sam Soliman drops from 16 to 22 due to controversial draw with Wes Kapper.  Tommy Langford enters at 20 with impressive win over Jack Arnfield.  Arnfield drops from 22 to 25.

Jr. Middles - NO CHANGES.

Welters – Yordonis Ugas moves from 17 to 14 with impressive stoppage of Ray Robinson.  Robinson drops from 25 to out.  Brandon Rios drops from 20 to 23 after highlight reel KO loss to Danny Garcia.  Kudratillo Abdukakhorov moves from 23 to 22 with win over Laszlo Toth.  Carlos Adames enters at 25.

Jr. Welters – Regis Prograis moves from 14 to 3 with impressive blowout of former unified champ Julius Indongo.  Indongo moves down from 3 to 12 after second consecutive blowout loss.  Rances Barthelemy drops from 4 to 10 with near shutout loss to Kiryl Relikh.  Relikh enters at 6.  Juan Carlos Ramirez moves up from 15 to 5 with impressive win over Amir Imam.  Imam drops from 21 to 24.  Sergey Lipinets moves from 10 to 9 after impressive showing in loss Mikey Garcia.  Ivan Baranchyk entered at 22 with win over tough Petr Petrov.  Steve Claggett drops from 23 to out after loss to Danny O'Connor.  Yves Ulysse, Jr. drops from 25 to out.

Lights – Bryan Vasquez moves from 12 to out due to switching divisions.  Felix Verdejo drops from 14 to out after upset loss to Antonio Lozada, Jr.  Lozada enters at 21.  Peter Petrov drops from 15 to 18 after short-notice loss at 140 to Baranchyk.  Lewis Ritson enters at 25.

Jr. Lights - Bryan Vasquez enters at 15 with win over Miguel Angel Gonzalez for regional 130 belt.  Martin Joseph Ward enters at 25.  Jonathan Oquendo and Evgeny Chuprakov, 24 and 25 respectively, drop out.

Feathers - Oscar Valdez moves up from 5 to 4 with gritty win over Scott Quigg.  Quigg drops from 7 to 9 for missing weight and still losing.  Jesus Cuellar drops from 8 to Inactive due to inactivity.  Cuellar is scheduled to face Gervonta Davis at 130 for a belt soon.  Takenori Ohashi enters at 19 with win over Kosuke Saka.  Saka drops from 20 to out.  Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda enters at 25.

Jr. Feathers – Hidenori Otake moves up from 18 to 16 for defense of OPBF belt.  Gavin McDonnell moves up from 23 to 19 for impressive win over unbeaten Gamal Yafai.  Azat Hovannisyan enters at 22 after impressive stoppage win over Ronny Rios.  Rios drops from 21 to out.

Bantams – Shinkue Yamanaka drops from 2 to out due to retirement.  Naoya Inoue enters at 5 due to scheduled fight with Jamie McDonnell.  Jason Maloney enters at 25.  (I erroneously had Jamie McDonnell in two spots last month - thus added Maloney to fill out top 25.)

Super Flys - Naoya Inoue moves from 2 to out as he's moved up in weight.  Juan Francisco Estrada moves from 4 to 2 based on strong performance in loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.  McWilliams Arroyo moves from Inactive to 7 after impressive win over Carlos Cuadras.  Cuadras drops from 5 to 8.  Andrew Maloney moves up to 18 from 25 with impressive win over Rene Dacquel.  Dacquel drops from 24 to out.  Jose Martinez enters at 25.

Flys – Artem Dalakian moves up from 17 to 3 with impressive win over Brian Villoria.  Villoria drops from 5 to 8.  Juan Carlos Reveco drops from 3 to 7 after one-sided loss to Donnie Nietes.  

Jr. Flys – Saul Juarez enters at 15 with win over Gilberto Parra Medina.  (Funky Cold) Medina drops from 18 to 24.  Alexis Diaz drops from 25 to out.

Straws – Saul Juarez drops from 17 to out as he moved up in weight.  Julio Mendoza enters at 25.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Boxing Podcast With MMA Writer John Nash

This week, my guest on the podcast is John Nash, writer for Bloody Elbow.  John writes primarily about MMA and also does an excellent podcast with Paul Gift and Jason Cruz called Show Money which covers the business side of MMA.

We spoke about the fighters antitrust lawsuit against the UFC, the bill in Congress to extend the Ali Act to MMA, the movement to organize MMA fighters into a union or association and what the sport of boxing can learn from what's going on in MMA.  It was an excellent discussion - enjoy!

To check out John's writing go to www.bloodyelbow.com.  You can catch John's Show Money podcast on iTunes and you can hit John up on Twitter at @heynottheface.

Enjoy the podcast.  You can listen to it on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.  Please leave a comment or a rating, I would much appreciate it.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Boxing Podcast with VP of Communications at Haymon Sports and the PBC - Tim Smith

My guest on this podcast is Tim Smith, VP of Communications at Haymon Sports and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).  Tim was a long-time boxing writer, having covered the sport at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the New York Times and the New York Daily News before taking his position at the PBC.  We spoke about Tim's years as a boxing writer, the PBC's pursuit of a TV deal on free TV, the PBC's potential teaming up with Dana White and Zuffa Boxing, Top Rank's deal on ESPN, the World Boxing Super Series and Floyd Mayweather potentially fighting in the UFC.  Great discussion - enjoy!

Check out what's going on at the PBC at the following link:  http://www.premierboxingchampions.com/

For more Boxing Esq. podcasts, you can find them on Soundcloud at the below embed or subscribe on either iTunes or Stitcher.  If you enjoy the podcasts, please leave a comment or rating, that would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Square Ring Survives Motion to Dismiss in Breach of Contract Suit vs. Eduard Troyanovsky

Interesting issues in a breach of contract case filed by Square Ring, Inc., Roy Jones, Jr.'s promotional entity, against former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Eduard Troyanovsky in U.S. Federal Court, Northern District of Florida.

The complaint itself is pretty straight forward (see Complaint below).  It alleges, in essence, that Troyanovsky signed a promotional agreement with Square Ring and Salita Promotions, Dmitiry Salita's promotional entity, as co-promoters.  Salita was subsequently bought out by Vlad Hrunov.  Square Ring and Hrunov co-promoted Troyanovsky's bouts until such time as Troyanovsky started participating in bouts promoted by another entity (unnamed in the complaint but initially - Aleksey Stashkov's World Boxing).

In response, Troyanovsky's counsel filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and lack of personal jurisdiction, quash service, and, alternatively, to disqualify counsel (Square Ring CEO John Wirt).  Plaintiff then filed a motion in opposition (see MTD and Opp briefs below). 

There are some interesting issues regarding forum selection clauses, prior material breach and minimum contacts in the briefs.   But what really caught my eye was an issue Troyanovsky's counsel raised for the first time in a Joint Statement of the parties regarding the need for an evidentiary hearing to decide the validity of the forum selection clause (see Joint Statement below).  Counsel raised the argument that Florida's long arm statute regarding personal jurisdiction did not apply because the promotional contract constituted a labor or employment contract - both of which were excluded under the statute.  A finding by the Court that promotional contracts are labor or employment contracts would be interesting precedent.

Judge Rodgers, however, rejected Troyanovsky's argument.  After initially rejecting the argument because it was not raised in the Motion to Dismiss brief and was therefore waived, the Court further stated that even "[i]n the absence of waiver, the Court would find that the Agreement is not a contract '[f]or labor or employment' under Fla. Stat. § 685.101." 

Because the terms "labor" and "employment" were not defined in the statute, the Court looked to how the terms were defined by the common law and the dictionary.  The Court found "Laborer" was defined in Webster's as "a person who does unskilled physical work for wages."  The Court further found that under the common law, "an 'employee' is a person who performs services under the substantial control or direction of an employer."

The Court held that the promotional agreement at issue was "for the promotion of Troyanovsky's skills as a world-class professional boxer, not unskilled work."  The Court further found that Square Ring did not exert sufficient control over Troyanovsky such that he was an employee.  Thus, the promotional agreement was not a contract for labor or employment that would exempt it from the effect of the forum selection clause. 

Ultimately, the Court denied the motion to dismiss, quash service and disqualify counsel, finding for Square Ring on all counts (see the Court's Order below). 

See Complaint below:


See MTD below:


See Opp to MTD below:


See Joint Statement below:


See Order below:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - February 2018

Presenting the February 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings.

MovementsHeavys – Kownacki moved up from 15 to 12 with win over KO win over Iago Kiladze.

Cruisers – Briedis moved up from 4 to 3 off strong performance vs. Usyk.  Dorticos moved up from 6 to 5 off of strong performance against Gassiev.  Glowacki moved down from 3 to 6 after poor performance vs. Serhiy Radchenko.

Welters – Peterson moved down from 9 to 10 after beating from Spence.  Mimoune moved from 16 at Welter to 12 at Jr. Welter.  Robinson moves up to 25.

Jr. Welters – Mimoune in at 12.  Saucedo from 25 to out.

Lights – Fortuna moves up from 9 to 8 off of strong showing vs. Easter.

Jr. Feathers – Emanuel Navarette up to 25.  Albert Pagara out.

Bantams – Ryo Akaho out due to retirement.  Suriyan Kaikanha in at 23.

Flys – Fuentes moved down from 10 to 13 after KO1 loss to Higa.

Jr. Flys – Moises Calleros moved from 23 at Jr. Fly to 13 at Straw due to pending title shot at 105.  Alexis Diaz in at 25.

Straws – Calleros in at 13.  Jerry Tomogdan moved from 22 to out after getting stopped in 5 by Pedro Taduran.  Taduran in at 23.  Xolisa Magusha moved from 25 to out.

Light Heavys, Super Middles, Middles, Jr. Middles, Jr. Lights, Feathers and Super Flys - NO CHANGES.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Boxing Podcast with former HBO Boxing Marketing Exec - Evan Rutkowski

My guest on this podcast is Evan Rutkowski, former manager of marketing strategy at HBO.  Evan is also the author of a great new podcast titled The Fistianados Podcast, where he gives his take on what television network executives are looking at when they survey the current fight scene.  We spoke in depth about Top Rank's deal on ESPN as well as the PBC's situation and why no network has picked up the WBSS.  It was a fun discussion - enjoy!

To check out Evan's podcast on the Leave It In The Ring Network at the following link - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/leave-it-in-the-ring-radio/id316004573?mt=2

Enjoy this podcast and for more Boxing Esq. podcasts, you can find them on Soundcloud at the below embed or subscribe on either iTunes or Stitcher.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Boxing Podcast with Leading Boxing Attorney Scott Shaffer - Previewing 2018

Last week, I sat down with my good friend Scott Shaffer, litigation attorney and partner at Olshan, Frome and Wolosky, as well as a longtime senior boxing writer at Boxingtalk.com.  Scott has represented some of the top promoters in the sport including Sauerland Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw, as well as world champions such as Ricky Hatton.

We look at what's ahead in 2018 as far as major fights and try to predict who will win the fights already made and what other big fights will come off by year end.  We also take a look at what will happen with the PBC possibly joining forces with the UFC, year two of Top Rank's ESPN deal, as well as where HBO goes from here.  It was a really fun discussion - enjoy!

To check out Scott's boxing writing, go to Boxingtalk.com.  Scott's litigation bio from Olshan is at the following link - https://www.olshanlaw.com/attorneys-Scott-Shaffer.html

Enjoy the podcast and you can listen to it on Soundcloud or subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - January 2018

Introducing the first set of the Boxing Esq. world ratings.  If you're going to be a true hardcore fan of the sport, you have to develop your own set of ratings.

These ratings feature a top 25, notable fighters just outside the top 25, inactive fighters, prospects and those who are currently retired.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Povetkin Files Opposition Papers and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment in Wilder Case

Alexander Povetkin/Wikimedia Commons-Przemek Garczarczyk

Attorneys for top heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing LLC ("WOB"), recently filed opposition papers to the summary judgment filed by WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder and his promoter, DiBella Entertainment Inc. ("DBE").  Povetkin and WOB also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment in this lengthy litigation in the Southern District of New York.

The case stems from the aborted WBC Heavyweight title bout scheduled for May 21, 2016 in Moscow, but postponed due to Povetkin testing positive for Meldonium.  In February 2017, a jury trial was held on the sole issue of whether Povetkin had ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the date when WADA placed Meldonium on the banned substance list.  The jury needed little over half an hour to return with a verdict against Povetkin.

District Judge Andrew Carter denied Povetkin's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Motion for a New Trial in September 2017.  Wilder's attorneys then filed their motion for summary judgment on the remaining causes of action in the case: breach of the bout agreement and release of the escrow funds to Wilder.  (For a more fulsome summary of Wilder's motion see this blog's recap.)

In Povetkin's opposition papers, his attorneys make the argument that the bout agreement was governed by the WBC and its rules at all times and the WBC made a determination at the time of the positive test to postpone the fight and not cancel it.  They further argue that the WBC stated that they would postpone the fight until after they conducted an investigation.  In August 2016, the WBC came back with a decision that they could not definitively determine that Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016 and they cleared Povetkin to participate in an "interim" world title bout.  Povetkin's attorneys argue that because the WBC essentially cleared Povetkin at that time, he could not have breached the bout agreement and that, to the contrary, Wilder, by not flying to Russia for the fight, had been the one who repudiated the bout agreement.

The WBC allowed Wilder to make an optional defense while their investigation took place and Wilder got injured on his way to stopping Chris Arreola.  Povetkin's attorneys argue that Wilder's injury caused him to be unable to fight Povetkin after the WBC cleared him and thus, Wilder breached one of the representations and warranties of the bout agreement.

Povetkin argues that he is entitled to $2,616,589.92 in reliance damages, plus 9% simple interest, as well as $2,566,135 in expectation damages, plus 9% simple interest.

Povetkin further argues that though the jury verdict in this case found that he had indeed ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the WBC ruled on November 7, 2017, after conducting an additional investigation, that it would adhere to their August 2016 ruling stating it was not possible to ascertain if Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  Povetkin was reinstated to compete in WBC-sanctioned bouts as of December 6, 2017.  (Povetkin had subsequently tested positive for another PED, Ostarine, when prepping for the "interim" WBC title bout with Bermane Stiverne and was suspended by the WBC indefinitely).

Regarding their counterclaims, Povetkin and WOB's attorneys argued that Wilder and DBE breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing because of the way they manipulated Povetkin's positive test to avoid participating in the bout yet still want to take home their bout purse from the escrow account.

They additionally argued that WOB was entitled to $2,500,000 in liquidated damages due to breach of the escrow agreement, as the escrow agreement does not provide for a claim of breach of the bout agreement as grounds to freeze the escrowed funds.

See Povetkin/WOB's motion below:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ali v. Fox Broadcasting Case Transferred to Northern District of California

A quick update on the case Muhammad Ali Enterprises, LLC brought against Fox Broadcasting Company for false endorsement and right of publicity for allegedly using Ali's likeness without permission in a Super Bowl commercial.

The case was originally brought in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois in October 2017.  Fox moved to transfer (and Ali agreed), as the offending commercial was shot in California, where Fox's offices are, and most of the witnesses and documents were there as well.  The case was transferred to the Northern District of California in November 2017.

Fox filed its answer with general denials in November and no other significant action has gone on in the case.

For a summary of the complaint, please see my earlier blog entry.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Top Rank Files Motion for Summary Judgment in Middendorf-Crawford Contract Dispute

Attorneys for Top Rank have filed for summary judgment in the case brought against them by Middendorf Sports on the issues regarding the duration of the promotional agreement between Top Rank and Terence Crawford and release.  Middendorf is seeking payment for a number of Crawford bouts it claims it is owed pursuant to agreements it had with both Crawford and Top Rank.

For a recap of Middendorf's Second Amended Complaint please see this blog's summary.

District Judge John Gerrard, however, partially granted Top Rank's motion to file the summary judgment under seal to the extent that the moving papers and exhibits are only available to court users and the parties to the case.  Thus, the general public (and, it follows, the readers of this blog) do not have access to the documents.

As previously reported on this blog, this case was stayed in late October, 2017 as the parties tried to resolve it in mediation.  In early December, attorneys for Middendorf filed a Notice of Mediation Report informing the court that the mediation was held on November 27, 2017 and it was unsuccessful.  An Amended Final Progression Order was filed by the Magistrate Judge Susan Bazis setting the final discovery deadlines, including for Top Rank's motion for summary judgment re: the issue of duration of the Agreement and Release, which was to be filed by January 5, 2018.  Top Rank filed the motion on December 29, 2017.

Previous to all of this, in October 2017, Middendorf had attempted to file a Third Amended Complaint (which it also filed under seal).  Top Rank filed an opposition brief and Middendorf filed their reply brief, in which Middendorf dropped a cause of action from the Third Amended for tortious interference - all prior to the mediation stay.  Top Rank was allowed to file a sur-reply motion in late December.  The Court has not issued an opinion on whether Middendorf can file the Third Amended Complaint.

See many of the motions and orders mentioned below.

See Top Rank's Motion in Opposition to Middendorf's filing of a Third Amended Complaint:


See Middendorf's reply brief to Top Rank's Opp:


See Top Rank's Sur-reply:


See the Court's Progression Order:

See the Court's Order partially granting Top Rank's Motion to File under Seal its motion for summary judgment:

Official Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings - July 2018

Presenting the July 2018 Boxing Esq. World Boxing Ratings: Movements : Heavys  – Dillian Whyte moves up from 6 to 3 with his gutsy win ov...