Arbitration Seen in Boxer-Promoter Fight

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A court fight over money between world champion super-middleweight Andre Ward and his late promoter Dan Goossen appears headed to arbitration.
     A federal judge on Monday granted the Goossen Estate’s request for a stay, pending an appeal before the 9th Circuit, of an Oct. 15 ruling against arbitration in the fight between the Ward and the promotions team.
     U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson found that “any prejudice resulting from a delay in the proceedings will be minimal, given the Ninth Circuit’s briefing schedule in this case, which provides for the appeal to be fully briefed within the next few months.”
     Ward, 30, claimed Goossen and Goossen Tutor Promotions violated the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by failing to disclose required financial information for several of Ward’s fights over the past 10 years. Ward sued Goossen in August, seeking an accounting and damages .
     Goossen in September demanded arbitration, but Henderson denied the arbitration motion on Oct. 15.
     Goossen died on Sept. 29, and Ward notified the court he will amend his complaint to name Goossen’s estate as defendant along with Goossen Tutor Promotions.
     In an earlier ruling, Henderson said the 2004 and 2011 promotional agreements between Ward and Goossen are nearly identical, and include an addendum mandated by the California State Athletic Commission, which requires arbitration to resolve all controversies regarding the validity and enforceability of such contracts.
     But Ward and Goossen offered differing opinions on what can be arbitrated.
     Goossen said the fight-promotion contracts intentionally expand the Athletic Commission’s arbitration clause to include all disputes.
     Ward said only items regarding contract validity or enforceability are subject to arbitration.
     Henderson in October found that the state’s narrow arbitration provision applied and denied Goossen’s motion for arbitration, which Goossen’s legal team appealed.
     With his earlier arbitration ruling under appeal, Henderson on Monday wrote that “the parties’ contract is composed of two poorly constructed documents” and granted the stay of proceedings.
     Ward won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and won his first world championship in 2009. His professional record is 27-0 with 14 knockouts.

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