Bob Arum's Top Rank Inc. will be the next promoter undisputed middleweight champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins dukes it out with in arbitration. Hopkins recently filed an arbitration against Arum in Nevada, because he feels Top Rank wrongfully withheld payment of $180,000 that should have been paid to him. Like Don King, Arum plans to file a counterclaim against Hopkins. Arum told Boxingtalk his counter action "will teach Bernard a lesson." Arum continued, "I would've paid a lawyer to hold the money and we could have worked this out like gentleman. But if in the event the IBF prevails, and believe me, they have a pretty good case, if they prevail against Hopkins (and Top Rank) and he says to me, forget you I'm not paying you, they would come right after us, so all we did was protect ourselves."
As for his counterclaim against Hopkins, Arum believes the commotion Hopkins caused over referee Joe Cortez being appointed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his June 5, 2004 bout with Robert Allen, had a detrimental effect on the promotion and PPV.
"He was going in the papers saying he was going to pull out of the fight over Joe Cortez. People felt the fight wasn't going to happen, remember he went to the airport. And you know, I wasn't going to take any action against him, but like he did with Don, once he starts it, he's looking for trouble."
"I got hurt on that June PPV because a lot people made plans to watch the fight on PPV and then they didn't because it's in the papers that he's not going fight. Then I got HBO on the phone telling me if there's no doubleheader, they don't do the PPV.
"He didn't have the right to pull out because the referee they appointed was a credentialed Puerto Rican. That was ridiculous! You can't pull out because you did something stupid in Puerto Rico and they appoint a Puerto Rican referee that lives in Vegas."
Top Rank now joins, Butch Lewis, America Presents, Lou DiBella and Don King as former Hopkins promoters to end up in a legal battle.
One has to wonder how long it will take for Hopkins to sue his current promoter Golden Boy Promotions. As of now, Golden Boy is the ONLY
promoter Hopkins hasn't taken legal action against.
Hopkins guaranteed purse for the Oscar De La Hoya fight was $8M, but Hopkins allegedly only paid the IBF sanctioning fees of $4M purse.
Arum reiterated, "We only held back $180,000 because we're being sued as he is, by the IBF, for $180,00 for underpaying his sanction fee and we had to protect ourselves."
Hopkins and Arnold Joseph were unavailable for immediate comment.
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