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Boxing Manager Monopolizing Biz, Rival Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Alan Haymon - "the most powerful man in boxing" - is trying to monopolize the multibillion dollar boxing industry, a rival promoter claims in a federal lawsuit.

Golden Boy Promotions, LLC and its co-owner Bernard Hopkins sued Alan Haymon and several of Haymon's companies in Federal Court in Los Angeles over alleged antitrust violations.

Golden Boy says Haymon, backed by powerful venture capital firms, has repeatedly violated federal and state laws that regulate boxing and ensure fair competition, according to the complaint.

Haymon has also been called "the Terminator" for his apparent ability to "damage or destroy the careers of any boxer he manages any time he wants," the complaint adds.

Haymon acts both as a manager and promoter for championship-caliber boxers - a dual role expressly prohibited by several state laws and the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, the complaint states.

The Ali act calls for a strict "firewall between promoters and managers" and prohibits managers from having "a direct or indirect financial interest in the promotion of a boxer" and from being "employed by or receiving compensation or other benefits from a promoter," according to the complaint.

The act came about after years of boxing managers crossing the line between management and promotion, leaving the boxers physically damaged and often penniless. Heavyweight champion Joe Lewis made millions for others but spent his last days working as a greeter for a Las Vegas hotel, according to the complaint.

But Haymon - through his various entities - is attempting do play both roles, Golden Boy says.

"While managing numerous championship-caliber boxers, the Haymon defendants not only have an illegal 'direct or indirect financial interest in the promotion of' those boxers, they have actually functioned, and are actually functioning, as unlicensed promoters for those boxers, using their illegal dual role to exclude legitimate promoters from business opportunities essential to their ability to compete," the complaint states.

"For example, Al Haymon was widely recognized as and accurately called the 'main promoter' of the immensely lucrative bout on May 2, 2015 between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao," Golden Boy's complaint continues. "By such tactics, the Haymon defendants intend to effect a total monopoly of the boxing business."

Haymon falsely pretends that he is not a promoter, while at the same time forbids hundreds of boxers he manages from signing with other promoters, Golden Boy claims. He is determined to drive out competitors so that he and his powerful backers can control the boxing business.

The "backers" include venture-capital firm - and defendant - Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., which has allegedly given over $400 million to Haymon and his illegal activities, the complaint says.

Haymon's effort to eliminate his competition began when Waddell offered to purchase 100 percent of Golden Boy's equity interest - conditioned on an "onerous and lengthy" non-compete agreement from boxing great and Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya, according to the complaint.

De La Hoya declined. So Haymon and the other defendants "determined to drive Golden Boy from the American boxing business and are now moving ahead with their plan to gain total control of that business," Golden Boy says.

"Managing an extraordinary number of championship-caliber boxers has already given the Haymon defendants a dominant share of the management market. Now, the Haymon defendants actively seek to leverage that dominant share into a monopoly of the promotional market, by means of illegal, predatory and anti-competitive acts designed to eliminate all competition in that market," the complaint states.

"If Haymon is allowed to continue his unlawful and anticompetitive conduct, all legitimate promoters will be driven from the promotion market," Golden Boy says.

Golden Boy is suing for unlawful "tie-out," conspiracy in restraint of trade, attempted monopolization - all aspects of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act - and unfair competition under California law.

It seeks damages of $100 million, a figure that could be trebled if Sherman Act violations are found, restitution and an injunction barring the defendants from acting as managers and promoters. Golden Boy is represented by Betram Fields with Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger of Los Angeles.

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