Bowing to the threat of legal action from promoter Don King, promoter Jimmy Burchfield has removed former two-division titleholder Ricardo Mayorga from the main event of his Feb. 21 card at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
Burchfield announced on Monday that Mayorga (29-8-1, 23 KOs), the former unified welterweight world champion and also a former junior middleweight titleholder, would headline his upcoming card in an eight-round super middleweight bout against Raul Munoz (22-16-1, 16 KOs). The fight was supposed to be Mayorga's first since suffering a 12th-round knockout to Miguel Cotto in a junior middleweight title fight in March 2011.
However, King, who has promoted Mayorga for most of his career and claims that he still has a valid promotional agreement with him, sent a legal letter to Burchfield this week, demanding that he pull the 40-year-old Mayorga from the card.
"Your actions constitute a knowing, intentional and unjustified tortious interference with the agreement," King attorney Cornelius "Carl" Lewis wrote to Burchfield in the letter, which was obtained by ESPN.com. "As such and contracts Mayorga has entered into with or for you are void. My client has not and does not give you permission to negotiate on behalf of Mayorga or engage him, directly or indirectly, in any professional fights. You are hearby noticed to immediately cease and desist your actions and to have no further communication and/or business dealings of any kind on behalf of Mayorga."
King had previously stopped Mayorga from participating in an MMA bout, claiming his promotional agreement covered all combat sports.
Mayorga adviser Ivaylo Gotzev, who made the deal with Burchfield for the bout, claims that Mayorga's promotional agreement with King has long expired. King claims that Mayorga retired after the loss to Cotto, meaning that there would still be time remaining on the deal once he came out of retirement.
"Don's got some answering to do in court," Gotzev told ESPN.com. "The contract is over, according to the contracts I've seen. Now it's up to the courts to see who is right or wrong. You can't prey on expired contracts. Ricardo Mayorga never retired. The contract ran out. But everything happens for a reason. It's time for Don to deal with the repercussions of his actions. Mayorga will continue with his career but Don has caused monetary damages and is stopping this man from working and from making a living to support his family.
"Don doesn't even promote shows anymore. All he does is kill careers. He signs guys and doesn't promote fights or fighters anymore. He doesn't live up to his part of the bargain. He has had many breaches of the contract and yet he still claims Mayorga has a deal with him, even though it expired."
King did not return calls for comment.