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  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  Scott's litigation bio from Olshan is at the following link -

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.


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:

Great Show At The Hammerstein Tomorrow