Golden Boy Wins Hopkins-Eastman Purse bid....BUT

By Scott Shaffer and G. Leon


Golden Boy Wins Hopkins-Eastman Purse bid....BUT

DKP goes to court to keep Hopkins from getting paid!

Golden Boy Promotions informed Boxingtalk on Monday that it submitted a winning purse bid of $4.261 million and now has the right to promote Bernard Hopkins’ world middleweight championship defense against Howard Eastman. However, Don King Productions has already asked a federal court to block Hopkins from receiving any part of that money until it can be determined whether Hopkins is still under contract to DKP. As the defending champion, Hopkins is entitled to 75% of the winning bid or approximately $3.3 million, while Eastman’s side gets the remainder. It was reported to Boxingtalk that Eastman’s promoter, Mick Hennessy bid $4.1 million, Top Rank bid $1.8 million and DKP came in a distant fourth at $1.5 million.

According to its lawyer, Judd Burstein, DKP has filed papers in federal court in New York seeking a prejudgment order of attachment against Hopkins covering the next $5.4 million of payments to be made to Hopkins by his new promoter, Golden Boy Promotions. This request includes the 75% share of Golden Boy’s winning purse bid that is earmarked for Hopkins. If DKP and Burstein are successful in persuading Judge Peter Leisure to issue this relatively unusual request, the funds would be placed in escrow rather than going to Hopkins, until it is determined whether Hopkins breached his obligations to King. 

Of course, if the order of attachment is issued, Hopkins would be at risk of fighting for free and conceivably, he might not want to go through with the fight until he resolves his legal dispute with DKP.

The basis for DKP seeking this remedy is its claim that Hopkins signed and then breached a contract extension with DKP covering four additional fights. Hopkins gave the additional options in return for King putting Hopkins’ 2003 title defense against Morrade Hakkar in Philadelphia as opposed to a more profitable venue. Hopkins’ position is that his contract with King expired when he defeated William Joppy one year ago. Hopkins made two title defenses in 2004 before DKP asserted the additional options, but then again DKP does have it in writing.

Also, since Hopkins-Hakkar was a WBC mandatory, the court will have to decide whether United States federal law, namely the Muhammad Ali Act, prohibited DKP from taking the additional options from Hopkins.

DKP also claims that Hopkins signed a rematch clause requiring him to give Felix Trinidad a rematch of their 2001 bout for $5 million but then breached that clause by demanding $9 million. Hopkins did sign a bout agreement to fight Trinidad for $5 million in August 2002, but by then, Trinidad had retired.

The entire matter is currently being disputed in arbitration as well as federal courts in New York and Florida. Seeking to control where the case is tried, DKP has asked Judge Leisure to place the New York action on a fast track.




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