As you've probably heard by
now, Main Events, led by Kathy Duva, has filed a lawsuit against light
heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, his promoter Yvon Michel (the head of
GYM - - standing in image to the left), Al Haymon (sitting in image), Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime, which is largely centered
on the match-up between Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev (who is promoted by Main
Events) that imploded as Stevenson instead took a deal that sees him face
Andrzej Fonfara on May 24th and then presumably, Bernard Hopkins on
This case seems to be about
much more than just Stevenson-Fonfara not taking place but really, as you peel
back the layers, halting the pervasive influence and power of Haymon. The
complaint actually shows one of Haymon's contracts as an “advisor.” Perhaps
there is really no merit to this suit. Or maybe it's a landmark case that
changes the whole dynamic of the boxing business. What will be most interesting
is if this actually goes to the process of discovery.
Duva, a 2001 graduate from
Seton Hall Law School said to Maxboxing, “We had made a deal for Stevenson to
fight Kovalev. We were excited about it at the time. Somebody came along with
another agenda and found a way to blow it up and I'm mad as hell and I'm not
going to take it anymore.”
Hell hath no fury like Kathy
“We had a deal and people
should live up to their agreements and if they don't, there's going to be
consequences and those are the consequences,” she continued. “So we have not
just run this past my own attorney; we went to some others and got third opinions.
Everybody came back saying, ‘You've got a great case’ you should not hesitate
to take this.’ So we did it.”
What's fascinating in
reading the court documents is that the dissolution of the Stevenson-Fonfara
fight is just a small fraction of the big picture.
“I think the complaint
speaks for itself if you read it,” says Duva. “There appears to be plans to
create some big monopolistic entity and I think we got caught up in it. A
fighter [Stevenson] that was fighting on HBO became desirable to them for
whatever reason and got scooped up in this and affected a fight that I had
already made. Again, there are rules; they didn't follow them and the reason
why we have courts is that when big organizations come along and gobble up the
little guy, come in and screw up your plans, you have recourse. That's why we
have the courts.”
When asked how long this
process will take, Duva answered with a chuckle, “Oh, it could take years. I've
been involved in litigation and nothing is ever quick in the courtroom, so I
don't expect any quick resolutions. But again, there's a lot at stake here. I
think there is this idea - and it's come up time and time again in history of
the sport and the 30-odd years I've been involved in it - where people want to
come along and monopolize the sport. It's not good for the sport; it's not good
for the fighters. It might be good for a couple of fighters, the chosen ones,
not all of them. It's not good for the fans.
“It's not good for the
promoters because the local promoters, the people who are smaller who develop
talent, they are the sport’s life blood. You can't expect us to stay here and
keep doing our job if you're going to come in and take what we've developed or
ruin what we've developed. And again, that's why we have a court system: so
someone like me can go up against the machine.”
Duva is the ballsiest broad
in the business (and that is said with the utmost respect). She has decided in
many ways to not just protect her business but perhaps the business as a whole.
But where are the men to fight for their own businesses? Will they just hide behind
her skirt or maybe they have been complicit in what's been going on by letting
their business be co-opted by Haymon and simply can't react? Can we expect
others to join the fray?
“I don't know,” she says
with a sigh. “They can do what they like. I mean, I don't think people should
be afraid to stand up for their rights. This company in its history, going back
to the beginning at various times, has sued the WBA, the WBC, Bob Arum, Don
King - we still do business with all of them. You have a court system so that
an impartial person can hear both sides and determine who's right. And you
shouldn't be afraid to do that, to avail yourself of that opportunity.
“It's expensive and it is
scary but to me, the worst thing would be to live my life afraid.”
GOOSSEN VS. WARD
Once again, the California State Athletic Commission ruled in favor of Dan
Goossen and upheld his promotional contract with Andre Ward. This was/is the
third time Goossen has defeated Ward (which makes Goossen no worse than number
two pound-for-pound in the world) and it's not clear when “S.O.G.” will get either
his multi-fight contract or an announcing gig with HBO. But while he's ready to
move on with his fighter, well, Ward, like John Paul Jones, has yet begun to
fight (well, not in the ring though).
His team issued this statement on Wednesday night (but interestingly enough,
this didn't hit my inbox. Geez, was it something I said?):
likes to put out press releases that confuse the issue - so on behalf of Andre
Ward, we want to be crystal clear: the “legal issues” that he referred to are
only just getting underway. It is only after a California judge or jury speaks
that the legal issues will be resolved.
Today's decision from the California State Athletic
Commission (CSAC) was not unexpected.
From the very start, we do not feel that the
commission has been looking out for the best interests of Andre Ward, the very
boxer they are supposed to protect. To the contrary, for some inexplicable
reason, the CSAC has continually bent over backwards to try to accommodate a
promoter who we feel is taking horrible advantage of Andre and his career. It
is difficult to understand why the CSAC has refused to enforce its own rules -
first, by upholding Goossen Tutor's Promotional Agreement with Andre when we
feel that Dan Goossen clearly violated the commission rules by failing to
disclose his co-promotional agreement with Antonio Leonard, and now by
continuing to recognize and in fact extend the agreement when it is in clear
violation of a California labor law that prohibits promotional contracts that
last more than seven years.
Why the CSAC is favoring a promoter, even when it
means turning a blind eye to its own rules and the law, is a bit of mystery at
this point - but we can assure you that we will get to the bottom of why that
is happening and bring it to full light. This is an important matter not just
for Andre but for any fighter that risks his or her life in the state of
This is not the end of Andre's fight to stand up for
what he knows is right but rather the beginning. The CSAC decision has only
strengthened his resolve. Andre's lawsuit against Dan Goossen and his
promotional company in California Superior Court is continuing to move forward.
It has always been Andre's steadfast belief, as well as ours, that the state
court system, not the CSAC, is the proper venue for his dispute with Dan
Goossen. It is Team Ward's belief that the arbitration before the CSAC should
not have proceeded while Andre's lawsuit is pending, so we do not feel that the
decision is ultimately going to be binding.
We also want to be very clear about something else -
when Andre filed his lawsuit against Dan Goossen late last year, he offered to
continue to work with Dan while the case played out. Dan said that he would
continue to pursue fights for Andre but since the [Edwin] Rodriguez bout, he
has been unable to deliver. Andre is still waiting for an offer to fight and
the reality is that he is sitting on the shelf because Dan Goossen simply
cannot make it happen. This is one of the precise reasons Andre is trying to
free himself from this situation - he is stuck with a promoter who we do not
feel can advance his career in the appropriate manner.
To all the fans, Andre appreciates your support and
words of encouragement during this difficult time. We will keep you updated on
the status of his lawsuit and Andre will remain in shape and ready to fight
should an offer come in the interim. Andre is looking forward to continuing the
journey with all of his fans as soon as possible and as always, is ready to
face the best the boxing world has to offer.
On Behalf of Andre Ward:
Josh Dubin [attorney] & James Prince [manager]
I'm guessing the plan is to try and eventually take
this all the way to the Supreme Court if need be. But seriously, there is no
more litigious fighter in the world today and there's a very good chance he may
not fight in 2014. Perhaps one day Ward will extricate himself from Goossen –
who, by all standards, has done a fine job in promoting him - but he can never
get back this time, which is slipping by during his physical prime.
It's been a rather bizarre promotion this week in Las
Vegas in which subjects such as Floyd Mayweather’s interest in buying the L.A. Clippers,
his revelation that he's contemplating retirement and then in a new low, outing
his ex-girlfriend’s abortion on Facebook (in a post that has since been taken
down - yeah, I guess you could say that was also aborted) have all come to
light. And the actual main event between Mayweather and Marcos Maidana hasn’t
even happened yet.
Anyhoo, if you plan on dropping by the MGM Grand on
Saturday night, there are plenty of tickets to be had (and prices are dropping
on the secondary market):
Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Marcos Maidana Saturday, May 3, 2014 -
3:00 PM MGM Grand Garden Arena
Here's my latest on SportsOnEarth.com, on Jose Luis
Castillo, who many believe defeated Floyd Mayweather back in April of 2002:
Jose Luis Castillo nearly beat Floyd Mayweather
Here's the latest episode of “The Next Round” with
Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
Maxboxing Live: The Next Round Episode 478 “The Moment” Preview
“The Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia returns on July 14th in Atlantic City...Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum says Terence Crawford and
Brandon Rios could be flipping dates( June 28th and July 12th)
on HBO...“2 Days: Sergio Martinez” premieres May 17th on HBO after
the broadcast of Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado...Does the “V” in V.
Stiviano stand for “Visor”? Seriously, hey, we all know what you look
like...How bout dem L.A. Kings?! Yup, big puck fan here...
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