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 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 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.

 At this rate, however, it’s

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, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member

of Boxing Writers Association of America.

Twitter: @JakeNDaBox