Promotional tug-of-war starting to get ugly!

By Scott Shaffer


Promotional tug-of-war starting to get ugly!

King, Main Events both say Castillejo agreed to fight their guy!

Things are turning ugly in the tug-of-war over WBC junior middleweight titlist Javier Castillejo. Two promoters claim they have reached a deal with Castillejo.  Main Events says it has an agrrement for a bout with Fernando Vargas on August 20, while Don King says he has Castillejo under contract to defend his title against Ricardo Mayorga seven days earlier on HBO pay-per-view. The WBC has named Mayorga the mandatory contender for Castillejo's title despite the fact that in Mayorga's last fight he was knocked out by Felix Trinidad at middleweight. On behalf of Vargas, Main Events filed a demand last week for arbitration with the Association of Boxing Commissioners that challenged the WBC's designation of Mayorga as the mandatory contender. Today, Main Events turned up the heat up even further, accusing the WBC of improperly siding with Mayorga and King.  Patrick English, the attorney for Main Events, says he is in possession of a memo written by WBC president Jose Sulaiman to Castillejo's manager Ricardo Atocha that threatens to strip Castillejo unless he signs a contract with King to defend his title against Mayorga.  If this allegation is correct, the WBC would be violating Castillejo's right to go to a purse bid under the sanctioning body's own rules.

"These are strong arm tactics and we request you intervene to put a stop to them," said English in a letter to a WBC attorney named Robert Lenhardt. Back on April 18, English wrote to Jose Sulaiman saying, "we have reached an agreement for a Castillejo/Vargas title bout."  English told Boxingtalk on Tuesday that he would not rule out filing a lawsuit.

When informed of English's comments that the WBC is "strong arming" Castillejo into a Mayorga bout, King said the WBC was not to blame.  "That's a [flat out] lie! I got a signed contract from the man, and I moved the date from July 23 to August 13 just to accomodate HBO.  I even got $150,000 in escrow with the WBC. Pat English is tortiously interfering with my contract."

Boxingtalk rates Vargas #5 and Castillejo #7 at 154 pounds and Mayorga #7 at 160 pounds, the weight he last fought at. According to ABC president Tim Lueckenhoff, the ABC arbitration will be binding "if all parties expressly consent." If the parties do not agree to let the ABC decide the issue, Lueckenhoff wrote that, "the ABC will review the matter with input invited from both the WBC and Mr. Vargas, [and] will make a determination and then issue a press release.”  In its challenge to the ABC, Main Events claimed Mayorga could not possibly be a legitimate mandatory because, among other things, Mayorga pulled out of a May elimination bout and should not benefit from refusing to fight an eliminator that the WBC purportedly ordered.

King said the mandatory issue is irrelevant because Castillego signed to fight Mayorga and it could still be a mandatory. King said he wasn't ruling out a lawsuit either. "If they can't find a fight for Vargas, they should work with me because working together works and I have plenty of guys for Vargas to fight. I would much rather do business with Pat English, but if I have to go to the mat to protect myself, I will."