By Jake Donovan
Andre Ward remains virtually
invincible in the ring, but can’t seem to score a victory in the courtroom.
The reigning super middleweight
king saw his latest attempt to break free from promoter Dan Goossen once again
shot down in a court of law. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly E. Kending
ruled late Tuesday afternoon to dismiss Ward’s request for separation from Goossen Tutor Promotions, citing a lack of basis upon which to
invalidate the contract.
News of the hearing was passed
along to BoxingScene.com through a brief and quoteless statement from Goossen
Tutor’s press office. The story was first reported by Kevin
Iole of Yahoo Sports.
Ward (27-0, 14KOs) contended
that his contract with Goossen-Tutor—his co-promoter since turning pro in
2004–was in violation of California Labor Code Section 2588, which reads as
2855. (a) Except as otherwise provided in
subdivision (b), a contract to render personal service, other than a contract
of apprenticeship as provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3070), may
not be enforced against the employee beyond seven years from the commencement
of service under it. Any contract, otherwise valid, to perform or render
service of a special, unique, unusual, extraordinary, or intellectual
character, which gives it peculiar value and the loss of which cannot be
reasonably or adequately compensated in damages in an action at law, may
nevertheless be enforced against the person contracting to render the service,
for a term not to exceed seven years from the commencement of service under it.
If the employee voluntarily continues to serve under it beyond that time, the
contract may be referred to as affording a presumptive measure of the
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a):
(1) Any employee who is a party to a
contract to render personal service in the production of phonorecords in which
sounds are first fixed, as defined in Section 101 of Title 17 of the United
States Code, may not invoke the provisions of subdivision (a) without first
giving written notice to the employer in accordance with Section 1020 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, specifying that the employee from and after a future
date certain specified in the notice will no longer render service under the
contract by reason of subdivision (a).
(2) Any party to a contract described in
paragraph (1) shall have the right to recover damages for a breach of the
contract occurring during its term in an action commenced during or after its
term, but within the applicable period prescribed by law.
(3) If a party to a contract described in
paragraph (1) is, or could contractually be, required to render personal
service in the production of a specified quantity of the phonorecords and fails
to render all of the required service prior to the date specified in the notice
provided in paragraph (1), the party damaged by the failure shall have the
right to recover damages for each phonorecord as to which that party has failed
to render service in an action that, notwithstanding paragraph (2), shall be
commenced within 45 days after the date specified in the notice.
The Los Angeles Superior Court
believed different, with Judge Kendig citing that Ward has already twice before
tried and failed to break from his contract through separate arbitration
hearings with the California State Athletic Commission.
Ward filed the suit in early
August, the main source of the lawsuit alleging that Goossen failed to disclose
financial documents indicating how much his promotional company was making from
Ward’s boxing events. The practice, as Ward’s legal team contended in the
lawsuit, is a violation of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, a claim many
fighters cite when attempting to break free from a promotional contract.
Goossen has since filed a $10
million defamation lawsuit, as
reported earlier this month by BoxingScene.com Editor-In-Chief Rick Reeno.
For all of Ward’s legal battles,
the unbeaten super middleweight remains inactive since last November. The success
that came with winning the widely acclaimed Super Six World Boxing Classic has
hardly spilled over into the aftermath. Ward has fought just twice since
topping Carl Froch in their Dec. ’11 finals, scoring a knockout win over Chad
Dawson in Sept. ’12 and a lethargic 12-round points win over Edwin Rodriguez
last November. Both bouts aired on HBO, where he continues to serve as an
expert color commentator.
Prior to turning pro, Ward
captured a Gold medal – the last and only active American male boxer to have
done so – in the 2004 Athens Olympics. The feat capped a brilliant amateur run,
one that continued in the pro ranks as Ward hasn’t lost inside a boxing ring
since he was 13 years old, a stretch that extends 17 years and counting.
doubtful that Ward will even have the opportunity to fight at all in 2014–at
least not in the ring. The win over Rodriguez was followed by a return trip to
injured reserve, this time to undergo shoulder surgery. Ward’s wide gaps
between fights following the Super Six were also the result of nursing separate
Jake Donovan is the
Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member