Attorney: “Guerrero Contract Violates ‘The Ali’ Act”

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Robert Guerrero made headlines yesterday when he announced he would be seeking a California arbitrator to end his current agreement with promoter Golden Boy Promotions. His lawyer states the promotional violated the Ali act.

The Muhammad Ali Act, (an amended version of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996), was enacted in May 26, 2000, after former champion Muhammad Ali called for Federal legislation to protect boxers from the, “dishonest ways of some promoters and managers.” On the formal bill, it’s defined as an act who’s purpose is “To reform unfair and anticompetitive practices in the professional boxing industry.”

According to, Guerrero’s attorney Bruce Zabarauskas contends the current agreement Guerrero signed in order to fight Floyd Mayweather in May of 2013 violated the Muhammad Ali Act because “a promoter cannot require a fighter to provide promotional rights in exchange for the right to fight a mandatory title fight.” Guerrero, who is based out of Gilroy, California, faces opposition from Golden Boy promotions not only on the grounds that the contract is legal and binding but also Guerrero’s decision to put the matter before the California State commission. The article goes on to quote Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer as saying, “the California commission has no jurisdiction over a New York contract,” where the contact was executed.

Arguably a contract of this magnitude (the Mayweather fight) would have been examined thoroughly before signing by legal representation versed in the matters of sports, specifically boxing contracts. If what Richard Schaefer is saying is true (Guerrero’s current attorney is the same attorney retained when the agreement was executed) why wasn’t the disparaging language detected before? Contract disputes between fighters and promoters are nothing new. Perhaps it would be of Guerrero’s best interest to seek additional legal representation. Without knowing the specifics of how payment is dispersed for services rendered, it’s safe to assume his attorney would have been paid handsomely for his work and possibly gave the documents the OK to hasten the process along.

This isn’t Guerrero’s go around with contract disputes. In March 2008, prior to the expiration of the 5 year maximum term for a promotional agreement, Guerrero commenced an arbitration before the California State Athletic Commission (the “Commission”) requesting that the GTP Promotional Agreement be terminated on numerous grounds, including substantial, repeated breaches by GTP.(1)

You can’t help but wonder what’s driving this current dispute. From the outside looking in, he’s been having a very profitable career despite the loss.  He’s received sizable paydays over the last couple years (against Andre Berto and Selcuk Aydin) and capped off 2013 by receiving the golden ticket to the Mayweather lottery. As of late, he’s been noticeably absent from the ring and has reportedly turned down a fight against Keith Thurman, another potential good sized payday. His announcement sent social media into a frenzy Wednesday night with talks of Guerrero wanting out of the agreement in order to procure a big pay day fight with Manny Pacquiao on the Top Rank side of town.

If this outing with the Ali Act is any thing like his others, he won’t much luck. Other fighters citing this rule during the course of their careers to end contracts include: Tim Witherspoon, Oscar De La Hoya, Andre Ward, and Joseph Agbeko.



(1) Source: Ring Magazine

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