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August 05, 2014

By Scott Shaffer

World super middleweight champion Andre Ward's ongoing legal dispute with promoter Dan Goossen took a new turn this week, when Ward filed a federal lawsuit against Goossen and Goossen's company, Goossen Tutor Promotions, in the Northern District of California. Ward (picuted) alleges that Goossen violated the Muhammad Ali Act, a federal statute designed to protect boxers, by failing to disclose to Ward the financial aspects of Goossen's promotional deals.

Ward's claims, which he has to prove in order to prevail in the lawsuit, are reprinted below as excerpted directly from the complaint his attorneys filed on August 4th:

Mr. Ward brings this action to seek justice and recompense for serial violations by Dan Goossen and Goossen Tutor Promotions, LLC, one of his long-standing promoters, of the Muhammad Ali
Boxing Reform Act.

Under the Ali Act – and in furtherance of the Act’s policy goal to curtail what had been a persistent practice of exploitation of boxers, both inside and outside of the ring – prior to receiving any compensation directly or indirectly in connection with a boxing match, each boxing promoter must provide to the boxer specific financial disclosures concerning all compensation or consideration that a promoter has contracted to receive from or in relation to the fight. In addition, the promoter must disclose to the boxer all charges and expenses that will be assessed by or through the promoter against the boxer pertaining to the fight, as well as any reduction in the boxer’s purse contrary to a previous agreement between the promoter and the boxer or a purse bid held for the fight.

Even though Goossen has promoted Mr. Ward for nearly his entire ten year professional career, and despite repeated requests by Mr. Ward, Goossen failed in all instances to make any timely disclosures to Mr. Ward under the Ali Act for any of his fights from 2004 through 2012. Furthermore, in the one and only instance where Goossen did provide timely Ali Act disclosures to Mr. Ward, in connection with a fight he was promoting in 2013, such disclosures were woefully inadequate, failing to comply with even the most basic provisions of the Ali Act.

Accordingly, Mr. Ward brings the instant complaint against Goossen to recover all damages which he has suffered as a result of Goossen’s flagrant, serial violations of the Ali Act, including, but not limited to, disgorgement of all fees Goossen earned in respect of Mr. Ward, along with an accounting of any fees earned by Goossen in connection with the promotion of any of Mr. Ward’s fights, as well as the recovery of Mr. Ward’s attorneys’ fees and costs as provided for under the Ali Act.

Mr. Ward has suffered economic injury as a result of Goossen’s repeated violations of the Ali Act because if Goossen had timely and fully disclosed all compensation and expenses in connection with each bout to Mr. Ward, Mr. Ward would have had full and complete information sufficient to determine whether he was receiving the purses to which he was entitled for each bout, or to negotiate a higher purse for each fight, if necessary.

Specifically, Goossen was obligated to provide Mr. Ward, prior to receipt of any compensation in connection with a fight, with: (i) the amounts of any compensation or consideration that a promoter has contracted to receive from such match; (ii) all fees, charges, and expenses that will be assessed by or through the promoter on the boxer pertaining to the event, including any portion of the boxer's purse that the promoter will receive, and training expenses; (iii) and any reduction in a boxer's purse contrary to a previous agreement between the promoter and the boxer or a purse bid held for the event.

To date, Goossen has refused to provide such an accounting to Mr. Ward thereby preventing Mr. Ward from ascertaining whether he should have received a higher purse for each bout and/or whether any expenses deducted from his purse were improper or excessive.

Mr. Ward therefore requests that Goossen be ordered to provide a full accounting of all revenues and expenses relating to any boxing matches in which Mr. Ward participated and Goossen served as promoter including, but not limited to, barter  arrangements, multi-bout television and venue agreements, or any other boxing events originating from the relationship with Mr. Ward, even if Mr. Ward did not participate in such events.

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