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 above), Al Haymon (sitting in image above), 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 Showtime.
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 scorned.
“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?):
Dan Goossen 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 California.
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...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.