LAS VEGAS (CN) – The sons of former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman claim in court that Floyd Mayweather Jr. forced them to fight against another boxer for his reality TV program and bet on at least one of the unsanctioned fights.
Sharif Rahman, 18, and his older brother Hasim Rahman Jr. are members of the Mayweather Boxing Club, owned by the undefeated world champion, who this year became a licensed boxing promoter in Nevada.
In a Thursday lawsuit in Clark County Court, Sharif claims that Mayweather told him on Aug. 20 to be at the Mayweather Boxing Club for a sparring session the next day.
Without his knowledge, Sharif claims, the sparring session against amateur boxer Donovan Cameron was filmed for a reality program called “All Access.” It was broadcast on the Showtime Network to help drive pay-per-view sales of Mayweather’s Sept. 13 title rematch against Marcos Maidana, according to the lawsuit.
Sharif claims that Mayweather “refers to certain sparring matches at the Mayweather Boxing Club as ‘the Dog House’ and that in the Dog House ‘the rules are you fight ’til whoever quits.'”
He says Mayweather forced him to fight Cameron for several rounds, of 5 to 7 minutes each. When he asked for 3-minute rounds, Sharif claims, Mayweather responded, “This is the Dog House” and “turn those bells off.”
Facing the larger and more experienced Cameron, the fight did not go well for Sharif, who says a bystander told him to leave the ring. Sharif claims that Mayweather “responded by telling Cameron and others that if Sharif left the ring to beat his ass outside the ring.”
Sharif says he “feared for his safety and was forced to continue the fight.”
While his younger brother was fighting, Hasim Jr. says, he was contacted and told what was going on, prompting him to go to the boxing club and challenge Cameron to fight him.
Hasim says Mayweather allowed him to fight Cameron and called it a “‘fight to the death.'”
He also claims that, unknown to him at the time, Mayweather wagered “large sums of money” against him with others who were watching the sparring.
Hasim says his fight lasted 31 minutes without a break and that Mayweather and his boxing club were not licensed at the time to have amateurs spar.
The brothers say that without their consent, the fights were included in Mayweather’s “All Access” realty program on the Showtime Network, first broadcast on Sept. 6, and repeated.
They claim that “the program was heavily edited to portray Sharif as being an unskilled boxer. The ‘All Access’ program made several references to ‘the Dog House’ and Hasim’s fight and was promoted based on the two fights.”
Members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission saw the program and demanded that Mayweather explain himself at a Sept. 25 hearing, during which, the brothers claim, Mayweather “misrepresented facts while testifying.”
Mayweather told the commission the fights were staged and had breaks that were edited out of Hasim’s fight to give the appearance that it was continuous with no rounds, ESPN reported.
The athletic commission was concerned about the potential abuse of the fighters and marijuana use shown on the realty program, particularly since Mayweather this year was licensed as a boxing promoter. Mayweather told the commission the pot was fake, as well as the sparring fights, the Sporting News reported.
“We do take breaks when we spar. I make sure,” Mayweather said, according to the Sporting News. “I’m not going to let anyone get hurt because safety is very important to boxing.”
But the Rahmans claim the fights were real.
They seek punitive damages for invasion of right of publicity, intrusion upon name or likeness, false light and defamation, battery, tortious assault, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional interference with potential economic advantage.
Named as defendants are Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions dba Mayweather Boxing Club, and Showtime Networks.
The brothers are represented by Sean Claggett, with Claggett & Sykes.
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