Legal Fight Erupts Over Title Fight Purse

Mike Heuer

LAS VEGAS (CN) — Years of a manager’s work and investment could be lost when undefeated heavyweight Arturo “Andy” Ruiz fights for the WBO title Saturday, the Garden City Boxing Club claims in a lawsuit against the boxer, who has signed up with a new promoter, Top Rank.

Ruiz, who is 29-0 with 19 wins KOs and is ranked third by the WBO, is to be paid $500,000 for the fight against top-ranked Joseph Parker.

Parker, 21-0 with 18 knockouts, is a significant favorite to win the fight and the vacant WBO heavyweight title.

California-based Garden City Boxing Club and licensed manager Joseph Gagliardi say they started managing Ruiz in November 2010, when the fighter accepted a $25,000 signing bonus and half the rent on an apartment.

In exchange, the club is to get one-third of his profits, according to the complaint.

“Despite drug suspensions, plaintiffs managed Ruiz to a 21-0 record and placed him in contention where he is a mandatory contender for the vacant WBO world heavyweight title,” Gagliardi says in the complaint.

However, “Now that Ruiz has been managed to the most important and most lucrative bout of his career, Ruiz has informed plaintiffs that he does not intend to honor his contracts, perhaps proving the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished,” Gagliardi says.

He says that he and his club have “not made one dime of profit from the six years of effort” managing Ruiz, and they are entitled to $167,000, one-third of Ruiz’s purse from the Saturday title fight.

Ruiz entered a new agreement with Las Vegas-based Top Rank for $50,000 and won’t honor his contract, Gagliardi says. He says Top Rank agreed to hold the disputed $167,000 in a trust account until the Nevada Athletic Commission can appoint an arbitrator and the matter is resolved.

Gagliardi named Top Rank as a “stakeholder,” in his complaint against Ruiz, and asks the court to direct Top Rank to continue holding the money pending a resolution via arbitration before the Nevada Athletic Commission.

He also seeks more than $10,000 in damages for breach of contract and a declaration that the management agreement and contract extensions gives his boxing club exclusive management rights to Ruiz and the manager’s share of any purses, signing bonuses, advances or other money paid to him.

Top Rank and Ruiz could not be immediately reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon.

Las Vegas attorney J. Randall Jones, with Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, filed the complaint Monday and was not immediately available by telephone Wednesday evening.

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