In This Corner: Anthony Cardinale Reflects on a Life as a Boxing Lawyer, New York City Boxing History, and The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act
By Pavel Yakovlev (Feb 28, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Anthony Cardinale

Pro boxing is a contentious, conflict ridden industry, as a sport and a business. Obviously the major fighters and promoters are well known to the public. Less recognized, however, are the influential boxing attorneys who fight, settle, or preempt the endless business disputes arising between industry figures that, ultimately, will make or break the sport. Boston’s Anthony Cardinale is one such lawyer. Best known as attorney and advisor to former WBA world heavyweight champion John Ruiz, Cardinale wears many hats as a lawyer. He has negotiated and litigated a vast range of boxing legal matters for over 35 years, is regarded as one of Boston’s most high-profile criminal defense attorneys, and has defended figures such as John Gotti in federal criminal cases. More recently, Cardinale played a key role in exposing the unlawful cooperative relationship between Boston FBI officials and accused organized crime figure Whitey Bulger. Presently, Cardinale is representing Bulger’s victims in addition to pursuing his boxing related activities.


The son of a New York City pro fighter and trainer who later operated a restaurant popular with boxing luminaries, Cardinale was literally born into the sport. Through his family, he has known many major boxing powerbrokers since childhood. In the following interview, Cardinale discusses his background, impressions of famous fights, and experiences as a criminal defense attorney who has handled many high profile cases, as well as his involvement with John Ruiz. Cardinale also speaks at length about intricate boxing legal matters such as the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, landmark Court rulings that have impacted the sport, and negotiating boxing contracts related to myriad issues such as licensing pay-per-view rights, representing fighters in overseas jurisdictions, and navigating the often delicate balance of responsibilities that exist between fighters, managers, promoters, and the organizations that govern the sport.


Pavel Yakovlev: You were born into a boxing family. Can you tell us about your father’s professional career?


Anthony Cardinale: My dad was a fighter in New York City during the 1930s and 1940s; his name was Frankie Cardinal, and he was trained by Freddie Brown. My dad went on to be a trainer after World War II. He trained a number of professional fighters, but probably the most notable was Rocky Castellani.


PY: So you grew up in New York City?


AC: I grew up in Manhattan. My dad was close to Lou Duva, which is why when my neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, got real rough in the early 1960s, we moved to Totowa, New Jersey. Over the years I had a great relationship with Lou and his family. Dan and Donna were in high school with me. I also knew Kathy, Dan’s wife, when she was a kid. Because of that connection, when I got into the fight business as an attorney and advisor for boxers, we could move in the fight world with Main Events. Later I started a promotional company that did ESPN fights in New England with Main Events.


PY: What succession of events eventually brought you to Boston, to practice law?


AC: As a kid, I took up football, and won a sports scholarship to attend Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where I was the captain of the team. We won two Lambert Bowls, which is awarded to the best small college team in the east. We also won the Timmie award once, which is for the best small college team in the country with a 32 game winning streak. I moved to Boston to attend Suffolk University Law School in 1973, where I graduated magna cum laude and was an editor of the Law Review. Following graduation, I then worked for five years with F. Lee Bailey.


PY: And it was in Boston that you began to work as a lawyer in the boxing industry?


AC: After I finished law school, I heard from an undefeated heavyweight who my dad had trained years earlier, but who had quit because, as he put it, he did not want to end up looking like my dad, who had an Edward G. Robison face with scar tissue around the eyes and a flattened nose. Anyway, this heavyweight wanted to make a comeback, and he came to Boston. Through him, I met the guys in Jimmy Connelly’s gym in South Boston, including Eddie Connors, Johnny Shea, and others. Then I met and came to represent Sean Mannion, and through some friends, including Bob Arum, we ultimately got Mannion a world title fight against Mike McCallum. Next, the boxers started asking me for help in negotiating contracts and getting their careers going. I became involved with, for example, Joey DeGrandis from South Boston, and later Jose Rivera from Worcester. DeGrandis fought for one world title, and Rivera won two different WBA titles. While that was happening, I became John Ruiz’s attorney and had a wild ride through the likes of Don King. Next came twelve world title fights and two world heavyweight championships. John and I are still extremely close, almost family.


PY:  Is there anything about your family’s boxing experience that influenced your eventual decision to become an attorney, especially a litigator?


AC: I never saw my dad box, he was retired by the time I was born, but he was training fighters throughout my young age, including my brother and me at times. What I discovered early…was that to be a professional boxer, you had to have phenomenal desire and hunger. This is something that was often emphasized by my dad. He would say that, at some point in a real professional fight, the struggle becomes completely mental and it is the hungrier guy -- the guy who has the will because he has no other way to survive -- that will take over. I realized that I did not have that level of commitment, so I paid more attention to football and luckily it got me a scholarship to college and a good education. Regarding being an attorney, when I realized I did not have what it takes to be a professional boxer, let alone a champion, I decided I wanted to become a lawyer. In my view, what I do as an attorney, especially in criminal trials, is very, very competitive and is sometimes like a boxing match.


PY: What was your first boxing-related legal case?


AC: In the early 1980s, I did a criminal defense case for four amateur boxers from Jimmy Connolly’s gym in South Boston. They were working as security in a Boston night spot called The Rat -- it’s actually name was The Rathskeller -- and were charged with knocking out, literally, an entire softball team that was celebrating a win one evening, and who refused to leave the club. When we got to Court, I had my clients, who were all between 130 and 160 lbs, wear clear eyeglasses and button down shirts with cardigan or v-neck sweaters. I had the courtroom packed with a bunch of South Boston neighborhood kids, where my clients lived, and made them sit in the back with the spectators. I then asked for an in-court identification. None of the softball players, who were all big guys from a suburb of Boston, could or would pick out my clients, who were then declared not guilty. From there, I got to know Sean Mannion, who was training at Connolly’s gym, and a few other pros. I then began representing these fighters as an advisor, negotiating contracts, etc.


PY: So, even at that early stage in your career, you could sense the psychological connection between boxing and litigation?


AC: Yes, as I said earlier. Also, what I realized from boxing is that the effort and training that go into being competitive on a world class level is astounding…there are probably no other athletes in the world who have the same level of fitness as championship level boxers. Litigation is similar to boxing in that it is usually the guy who is most relentless in his research, investigation, and preparation that usually prevails.


PY: Getting back to your family background, I understand that your father owned a restaurant near the old Madison Square Garden, and that the boxing crowd congregated there.


AC: After retiring, my dad and his brothers – he had five brothers, and three were boxers – opened a restaurant a couple of blocks from the old Madison Square Garden. The restaurant was Delsomma, located at 266 W. 47th Street between 8th and Broadway. The entire fight crowd would be there on fight nights. Ring 8 Veterans Boxers Association held their meetings in the restaurant, so as a kid I grew up around the likes of Willie Pep, Rocky Graziano, Sandy Sadler, Ray Arcel, etc. Also, Don Chargin used to come to my family’s restaurant whenever he was in New York City for a fight, and he had a great relationship with my family. I probably met Don before I was ten years old.


PY: Can you share any memories or anecdotes about mingling with the fight crowd at Delsomma as you grew up?


AC: Here is a scene from Delsomma's…on the night of the Griffith-Benvenuti bout, the place was full with the fight crowd. My dad called me over to speak with Lou Duva, who was there with Rocky Marciano. It was the first time I met Marciano. I will always remember the size of his hands. As a high school kid, I played football and wrestled, and went to college on a football scholarship, so I was not a small guy, but I will always remember how Marciano’s fist -- especially the bottom part of his palm -- was twice as thick as mine. All I kept wondering was how it must have felt to be hit with that fist. Also, that night I met a guy who was sitting in a rear corner booth, who my dad and Lou introduced to me as "Mr. Grey," Later, I realized he was Frankie Carbo. That was quite a night.


PY: You grew up attending most of the boxing cards held in and around New York City?


AC: I did attend regularly through the 1960's and 1970's in New York City, seeing, for example, Duran's first championship fight against Kenny Buchanan, as well as Carlos Ortiz, Joe Frazier, and Ali against Frazier in the new Madison Square Garden. Additionally, I saw many of the fights that Emile Griffith had at the Garden, including his loss to Nino Benvenuti – which was a big night for Italians – as well as seeing Hurricane Carter, Joey Giardello, and many others. Once I got to Boston, I was at literally every fight there since 1976.


PY: Do you have any anecdotes to share concerning the famous fighters you watched?


AC: I have a couple of anecdotes. I will never forget the look in Duran's eyes as he made his ring walk for the Buchanan fight…his eyes looked like they were made of black fire. Another anecdote concerns when Zora Foley fought the Argentine boxer Oscar Bonavena. I was a big fan of Oscar's, and I did not think much of Foley. Before the fight, my brother told me that Foley was good because he had beaten tough Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo. I responded by disparaging Chuvalo, and then my brother started kicking me and motioning over his shoulder. When I turned around, I saw that George was directly behind me. But he just smiled and said, "no offense, kid"


PY: As a kid, you must have seen the young Muhammad Ali – then known as Cassius Clay --fighting at Madison Square Garden. Were you present for Ali’s controversial win over Doug Jones?


AC: I did see that fight and was shocked when Ali's knockout prediction did not occur, but was glad to see him win it.


PY: Were you personally present at the tragic Griffith vs. Benny Paret fight, and if so, what are your memories?


AC: I did not attend but I watched it on Friday night fights, it was pretty grim.


PY: Did you see Dick Tiger’s fights at Madison Square Garden, particularly with Joey Giardello and Bob Foster?


AC: I saw Tiger box a number of times there, but I was not at either of those fights.  Bob Foster used to eat in Delsomma whenever he fought in New York City, so I got to know him growing up. He was as wonderful a guy as you could imagine. The one fight I will always recall at Madison Square Garden was when Ruben Carter knocked out Griffith in the first round, something I did not think possible.


PY: Certainly you would have seen the 1970s fighters cultivated by Madison Square Garden, such as Eddie (Gregory) Mustafa Muhammad, Wilfredo Benitez, Vito Antuofermo, Harold Weston Jr, Mike Rossman, and Duane Bobick. Many went on to win world championships. Any impressions or memories of these guys?


AC: Concerning Antuofermo, my dad trained a kid named Willie Classen, who fought Antuofermo in what was supposed to be a tune-up for Vito's upcoming title fight. But no one told Classen he was supposed to be a “tune up.” I thought along with thousands present that Classen won. When a split decision against Classen was announced, one of the biggest riots in Garden history followed…bottles and chairs flying, etc. My dad was not working with Classen after that fight, so he was not there when Willie later fought Wilford Scypion. I saw Benitez a few times and I was very, very impressed. In fact it was that experience that led me to get one of Benitez’s trainers, Manny Siaca, to train John after the first Valuev bout. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad was a terrific fighter to watch, tough and very skilled. I saw Rossman -- and his light-blue trunks with the Star of David -- several times. A really tough guy.


PY: Do you have any comments about Teddy Brenner, and his tenure as Madison Square Garden’s matchmaker during the 1970s and 1980s? My understanding is that he tended to pair up-and-coming prospects with the toughest available opposition, to ensure the most competitive fight possible.


AC: I knew Teddy more when he was with Top Rank as their matchmaker. He was a real old school guy who always made fighters earn their way. But he was nothing compared to my great family friend Don “War-a-Week” Chargin!


PY: A matchmaker from New York City who rose to prominence during that era is the legendary Johnny Bos. Would you agree that he been scapegoated for the Gatti-Gamache weigh-in incident?


AC: Johnny is possibly the best friend a boxer could have to advance to advance his career. That is because of Johnny’s uncanny ability to match his fighters with competitive opponents who made them look great. He is a brilliant boxing guy and much deserving of credit. As for the weigh-in incident, he certainly stood up for his guy and maybe paid a big price. 

PY: And, of course, a fixture at the Madison Square Garden fights in the 1970s was Malcolm “Flash” Gordon,” who hung around the arena doors hawking his underground boxing newspaper.


AC: I always enjoyed Gordon and his "newspaper." His “newspaper” was the precursor to the Internet and always had good insider boxing material.


PY: Your most prominent boxing client was John Ruiz, the WBA heavyweight champion of the world. How did you first get involved in Ruiz’s career?


AC: When John was considering a promotional change from Panix, who had Lennox Lewis, he asked me to represent him. We ultimately made a deal with Don King, as that was our only way to get a title fight with Evander Holyfield.


PY: Concerning your involvement in Ruiz’s career, what was your most rewarding moment?


AC: Obviously, the highlight was the second Holyfield fight, when John became the first Latino in history to win the heavyweight championship of the world. That’s an achievement that I think will never be eclipsed. I mean this both as a personal shared experience with John, and because I truly believe he will be the first and only Latino world heavyweight champion.


PY: What are your thoughts about the two Valuev vs. Ruiz fights? Many reporters and fans feel that Ruiz won both matches, particularly the first fight.


AC: John clearly won the first bout. Even the German crowd went completely nuts with disgust when the majority decision was announced. John said it was the easiest title fight he ever had. As for the second bout, a split decision loss, again, John definitely was the more effective fighter, and had a knockdown in the second round which was not called, in my view. John almost scored a knockdown again in the 11th. That is also the fight where we believed we saw Sauerland's people illegally sending in the scores from the judges to Valuev's corner. Because of this, Valuev’s corner told him to stay away from John in the 12th, because they knew Valuev was ahead on points. We got another title shot as a result.


PY: For two of Ruiz’s controversial losses in Germany, Stanley Christodoulou served as an official. Dating back to the 1970s, Christodoulou has been criticized as being a WBA “house referee.” Did you have any concerns about Christodoulou?


AC: Stanley is probably one of the best referees who ever worked in boxing. I would never try to block him from participating as a referee. Rather, I would lobby for him.


PY: In researching your career, I came across an interesting news article from years ago describing a verbal showdown between you and Lou Duva. The issue was whether Duva’s fighter, Kirk Johnson, deserved a rematch with your client, John Ruiz.


AC: There was no showdown between me and Lou, who is like my surrogate dad. The confrontation was with the fighter himself, Johnson, which ensued after I destroyed him and his arguments for a rematch against John Ruiz. This happened at the WBA convention in Washington following the fight. After the arguments -- where I made Johnson look like the piece of crap he was for fouling out of the fight to avoid being knocked out by Johnny -- he confronted me in the lobby and it was quite a scene.


PY: You are currently an advisor to Sergei Liakhovich. Sergei’s recently scheduled fight with Eddie Chambers fell apart under controversial circumstances. Care to comment?


AC: Well, naturally we were not at all pleased that Eddie waited a week before claiming he had x-rays that showed fractured ribs. By that time there were only seven days left before the premier of the NBC Sports boxing telecast. That was not enough time to find a suitable opponent for Sergei, something that I put before the Pennsylvania commission to redress.


PY: I understand you have defended some very famous organized crime figures. Any comments? 


AC: In my career I have represented many individuals who were accused of criminal behavior, and yes, some have been so-called organized crime or La Cosa Nostra figures. I always looked at it like this: I am a criminal defense attorney, and if someone who is alleged to be involved in the most serious crimes seeks my services, I take that as a positive thing for me professionally. In my career I have represented Gerry Angiulo, who was alleged to be the head of the LCN in Boston, and Tony Salerno – who was the alleged head of one of the five LCN families in New York -- in the so-called “Commission” case. I was also a member of the defense team when John Gotti and Frank Locascio, among others, were tried in the 1990's. My legacy, though, is uncovering the FBI’s misuse of its  "top echelon" informant program. In Boston, the FBI basically gave Whitey Bulger and his partner, Steve Flemmi, immunity for their crimes, and in fact aided and abetted them in several murders, all detailed in several books including “Black Mass,” by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill.


PY: Sounds like a very tough crowd. Did you ever meet the likes of Roy DeMeo, Anthony Senter, or Cesar Bonventre? Even though these guys date from the 1970s and 1980s, their names have garnered widespread recognition in recent years because of the spate of mafia non-fiction books published this past decade.


AC: When I was involved in the “Commission case” I met Cesare Bonventre, who was then on trial in the so-called "Pizza Connection" case. He reminded me of the guys who were Michael Corleone’s bodyguards in “The Godfather.” He was a handsome guy with a pretty distinct aura of danger. He was on trail in the so-called “Pizza Connection” case at the same time the “Commission” trial was going on.


PY: I have read Jerry Capeci’s books about that generation of mafia figures. What do you think of Capeci’s books?


AC: Jerry is a friend, and his books are good.


PY: As you pointed out, one of your defense clients was John Gotti. In the 1990s, in defense of Gotti, you cross-examined Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, who was then a federal witness.


AC: Preparing to cross-exam Gravano was like getting ready for a championship fight…in terms of the importance and the pressure. Going into court the morning that I was to start my examination was like walking to the ring before a big fight.


PY: During these cases, you must have crossed swords with legendary federal prosecutors such as Walter Mack and Rudy Giuliani.


AC: Mayor Giuliani was the US Attorney who put the “Commission” case together, where the heads of each of the so-called five families of New York City were on trial. While he did not try the case day to day, he made occasional appearances.


PY: When names such as Gotti and Gravano come to mind, I think about the old Ravenite Club, on Mulberry Street. Were you ever inside the Ravenite?


AC: When I was involved in John Gotti's case, I was at the club, and the building, as part of the defense preparation because I wanted to see the areas in which the government had placed bugs to capture the conversations. Those areas were a back hallway outside the club on the first floor, and an apartment in the floors above it.


PY: On a light-hearted note, I will end the mafia questions by saying that they allegedly had a great espresso machine in the Ravenite. Is it true?


AC: I am sure it’s true, because John Gotti had over 20 cups of espresso every day, many of them from that machine.


PY: Judd Burstein, a noteworthy criminal defense lawyer with a legal background similar to yours, states that he was motivated to become a boxing lawyer because of the epidemic of coercive contracts that exist in the sport. In other words, fighters are vulnerable to signing contracts that they do not understand, and that often work heavily to their disadvantage. Are your motives similar to Burstein’s?


AC: As I said, I agree with Judd in this area. Addressing this problem is primarily the purpose of the Muhammad Ali Act, and it motivates us to protect boxers from those who hold all the power. The field is leveled when the promoter or organization know that there is an advocate in the boxer's corner who has had a lot of experience in complex litigation. And, I will add, that advocacy can be important to managers or promoters who sometimes have issues with boxers or with organizations.


PY: Have you had experience dealing with the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act?


AC: Yes. The most important thing any advisor to any party in the sport can possess is complete familiarity with the Act. The downside is that there are precious few decisions from courts dealing with its provisions, and therefore, there is little legal precedent to follow that explains the nuances of the Act's language. The upside is that it is, for the most part, written in straight-forward language which makes its application clear. So, you know when it has been violated.


PY: Interestingly, there are many industry figures who believe that the Act has little practical value, and that it is unenforceable. Any comments?


AC: I think that the Act is perhaps the most important legislation in the business, particularly because of some of the comments you attribute to Judd. Boxers are usually from a background that makes them particularly vulnerable to the sharp practices of some people in this industry, so the fighters need all the protection and assistance they can get. What is more important, is that the boxers know what their rights and protections are under the Act, and what roles managers and promoters can legitimately play with respect to the boxers’ careers. The bottom line is, that fighters should have someone they can rely on to protect their rights, and certainly, someone to give them the correct advice before they sign any agreements.


PY: As best as I know, so far, the United States Department of Justice has not taken action to enforce the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, to show that it has teeth. Any comments?


AC: Overall, that is a good thing. It implies that the parties affected by the Act are, for the most part, doing the right thing. In a sense, it shows that attorneys like Judd, Pat English, Michael Miller, Jim Thomas, and others are successful in privately enforcing the Act. Remember, when you have an attorney with the training and legal experience to have dealt with, for example, taking on the entire FBI in criminal cases, then dealing with promoters or associations who intentionally violate boxers’ rights is no big deal. This is something that I have directly stated to my opponents in boxing related cases.


PY: A landmark boxing legal case was Graciano Rocchigiani’s lawsuit against the WBC for fraud. In 2003, A New York City federal court jury ruled in favor of Rocchigiani, who was awarded $31 million in damages and penalties. This verdict very nearly put the WBC out of business. What are your thoughts about this case?


AC: What that did was to make everyone in the business realize that there can be serious consequences for failing to follow the rules: especially the rules that the organizations have put in place to keep things fair, such as mandatory challenges, etc. That case served to level the playing-field for everyone. Although I must say, I was personally sad for Jose Sulaiman, who is a friend and someone I respect greatly.


PY: Tilelli v. Christenbery (1953) is another very famous boxing court case. The issue was that a state commissioner altered a ringside judge’s scorecard after the bout, reversing the decision originally awarded to Joey Giardello over Billy Graham. Giardello subsequently filed suit, and the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the original decision favoring Giardello should stand. Any comments on the precedent this case set in boxing?


AC: Again, anything that makes it clear that the rules are to be followed, and establishes fairness in this rough and tumble sport, is great for it. I will add that the same thing happened to John in the second Valuev fight. That’s when the Japanese judge went back and changed his card -- from a draw to a win for Valuev -- by claiming that he mistakenly put a “ten” on John's side of the score sheets for the 12th round, when he really meant to score it for Valuev. This he claimed after having entered the correct scores for 11 rounds. Since this kind of thing led to a loss, it could have affected John’s placement in the rankings, and therefore his chance for a title shot, so it was important to us to have that reversed…which the WBA did following the bout.


PY: Many boxers are victims of flagrantly unfair decisions, verdicts rooted in officials’ tendency to lean in favor of the promoter’s fighter (the “A” side boxer). In the aftermath, I often hear that the losing fighter and his manager wish they could seek relief in a court of law, anticipating that an administrative complaint to a boxing commission will be duly rejected. Do you foresee a time in the future when these fighters and managers will have recourse through civil suits?


AC: What people do not realize is, just how expensive it is to mount a legal challenge after such things. You are talking about six figure expenses. So the stakes have to be very high to justify litigating such a case. The problem is that identifying the winner is so subjective and specialized that it is a hard argument to make to lay persons, although frankly, you could show a fight to 12 disinterested people and most of the time they would pick the winner. However, the good news is that every organization has rules to cover situations where there has been a controversial decision. For example, when John Ruiz lost the majority decision to Holyfield in their first bout, a fight where everyone watching believed John had won at least eight or nine rounds, we petitioned the WBA for an immediate rematch and won the argument. That is a much cheaper way to go than court, and if a fighter has a legitimate argument, he’ll usually find a good jury of knowledgeable officials from the organization to present his case. That has always been my experience with, for example, the WBA, whose directory from which they select their hearing panels is to a member experienced, very knowledgeable and extremely fair.



PY: Have you ever been involved in negotiating pay-per-view contracts, on behalf of a fighter or a promoter? If so, what potential pitfalls do you look for, and preempt, for your client?


AC: I have done both a few times, and most importantly you have to protect the boxer from getting short ended. Every fighter's advisor should know what his revenue splits should be from the pay-per-view, and remember about the auxiliary revenue streams such as the rights fee for the replay, etc. When all of that is taken into consideration, along with the other revenue streams such as the site fee, international sales, and sponsorship fees are considered, then an advisor can protect the fighter's interests. While certainly the promoter who is taking the financial risk deserves to be compensated, the fighter is the one risking everything to put eyes on the television screens and people in the seats, and he should be fairly compensated for that.


PY: Do you have experience negotiating licensing agreements for the broadcasting of fights? What are your thoughts about the complexities involved in these contracts?


AC: Everyone who represents fighters should know -- BEFORE negotiating any bout contract -- what the fees are going to be for all revenue streams, and when it’s necessary to negotiate with the broadcaster directly to try to maximize the amounts. Again, the promoter is the first line and is interested in getting top dollar, but that does not mean that the fighter and his advisor are potted plants, just sitting there waiting to be told what their amount is. If you have a fighter who is a good draw, the broadcasters should pay for it.


PY: What have you learned about the interface of boxing and law from representing fighters and/or promoters in disputes with sanctioning organizations, domestically or internationally?


AC: The one thing that my experience has taught me is that you can have no interface if the fighter or promoter has insufficient experience dealing with the organizations, lacks knowledge of their rules and prior precedents, and doesn’t have the organization’s respect. When the organizations respect the advocate, and believe that he is not simply creating controversy for its own sake, but that he has a legitimate, sound legal position, that’s when the advocate can really protect his client in all aspects of the business.


PY: What experience do you have handling boxing legal issues in promotions staged through Native American tribes?


AC: When John Ruiz fought Holyfield in their third bout, after the fight Holyfield's advisor Jim Thomas brought up a claim concerning the commission, which in this case was the tribe at Foxwoods Resorts Casino. So, I have had that type of experience. Usually the native commissions are run by very good and knowledgeable people, or they agree to let the local state commission assume that role.


PY: How much of your boxing legal work involves dealing with tortuous interference and consequential breach of contract?


AC: This question is getting into too much to explain in a short answer. Generally, litigation in boxing is related to contract issues and breach thereof. Tortuous interference is something less often seen, but it does come up now and again. Unfortunately, fighters are constantly barraged by people who really have no cause to be "pissing" in his ear, as I like to call it.


PY: What are the pros and cons of fighters, managers, and/or promoters seeking to resolve their legal problems through administrative hearings, or arbitration?


AC: The pro regarding arbitration is that it is usually, but not always, cheaper and quicker than resorting to the courts. The more involved and complicated the issue, then perhaps the administrative hearings and arbitrations are better because you don't have to spend the time -- and most importantly, the money -- necessary to educate a judge who, although smart and capable, is going to be immersed in a very specialized field for perhaps the first time in his or her life.


PY: What difficulties have you encountered in representing American boxers overseas?


AC: The primary difficulty is when, in negotiating on behalf of a fighter – or his promoter -- who is going to fight in another country, his representatives do not take the appropriate steps in advance of the bout. For example, consider when Sergei Liakhovich recently fought in Germany against Helenius. In advance of the fight, Team Sauerland had to deal with me on behalf of Sergei, and with Pat English on behalf of his client, Main Events. Needless to say, before we even arrived in Germany, we made sure the officials were agreed on, that we agreed on the choice of gloves, etc.


PY: Have you ever been in a position where you have had to defend your client against an adverse ruling issued by an overseas court of law?


AC: Yes. One issue we had to deal with was a foreign ruling on a tax matter regarding one of John's bouts with Valuev. Together with Judd, we got the Federal Court in New York City to agree with us.


PY: Do you have experience representing boxers who licenses have been unfairly suspended?


AC: That is pretty expansive…the term "unfairly." If there are grounds for a suspension, it is rarely a situation that can be remedied, so sometimes you focus on the length of the suspension. I have been asked to represent fighters who have been suspended for acts during and after a bout. Again, it is usually a question of mitigation.


PY: Have you ever represented a fighter whose career has stalled because he is resisting his promoter’s attempts to force or coerce him into a bout that is not in best interests, and which he resists?


AC: That seems to be a specialty of mine. For example, I recently represented a fighter who had grounds to get out of his contract with a manager who did not fulfill the activity clause of his contract, and who then went on to an HBO fight.  I have also dealt with many fighters who were not being treated right by their promoters on activity grounds, as well as other unfair dealings by the promoter. For example, when a promoter will not permit a boxer to fight anyone but another boxer under contract, or a promoter who keeps a fighter idle simply because he has no dates to use all the fighters he happens to have under contract. Unfortunately, these things happen in boxing all too often in this sport.


PY: If an American fighter signs a promotional deal with a foreign promoter, is it realistic to demand that the contract be subject to American law, and in the event of a dispute, resolved in an American court of law? Would the foreign promoter have to be registered as an American corporation for these conditions to apply?


AC: A fighter in that situation should always have an advisor who can negotiate the best possible deal on the fighter's behalf. The choice of court in which to deal with disputes can be established in the contract with the promoter. As long as the promoter agrees to the forum, then per contract, he is bound to resolve disputes in that forum regardless of whether his firm is an American corporation. Once agreed in contract, that’s a done deal. Similarly, although the Muhammad Ali Act has no legal effect anywhere outside of the United States, the advisor can insist on including the Act’s clauses in the contract, which would provide similar protections. Again, this is an area in which the right advisor can make a huge difference in protecting a boxer.

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