Former junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade has filed a lawsuit against Roc Nation Sports in New York Supreme Court, accusing rap star Jay Z's promotional company of reneging on a promise to pay him $550,000.
Andrade, who also named longtime boxing attorney and former Roc Nation consultant Jeff Fried in the suit filed July 31, claims that Roc Nation Sports, which was interested in buying his promotional contract from co-promoters Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo's Banner Promotions, promised him the money if he refused to take part in a title defense arranged by DeGuardia and Pelullo. They had negotiated an agreement for Andrade to defend his 154-pound world title against Jermell Charlo on Dec. 13, on a Showtime-televised card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His purse would have been $550,000, and the fight would have been the first on a three-fight deal they negotiated with the network.
"After Andrade performed his obligations under the agreement by rejecting the fight, Roc Nation reneged on its promise to pay Andrade the $550,000," the suit said.
Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs), 27, of Providence, Rhode Island, has been inactive since winning a mandatory defense by seventh-round knockout of England's Brian Rose on June 14, 2014. One of the main reasons for Andrade's inactivity is because he declined to face Charlo. The 2008 U.S. Olympian was stripped of his world title by the WBO last Friday because of inactivity.
Also last week, Pelullo and DeGuardia sued Roc Nation Sports and Fried for $20 million, plus punitive damages, in New York Supreme Court, alleging that Roc Nation Sports executives interfered with their exclusive promotional contract with Andrade and convinced him to turn down the fight in December and the Showtime contract offer.
Roc Nation Sports spokesman Ron Berkowitz said the company had no comment. Andrade and Fried did not respond to messages from ESPN.com seeking comment.
According to the latest lawsuit, in late 2014, Ed Farris, Andrade's manager -- who, along with Andrade, had met with Roc Nation Sports officials -- told them that DeGuardia and Pelullo had obtained an offer for Andrade to defend his title against Charlo on Dec.13.
"In response, Roc Nation and Fried embarked on a campaign to convince Farris and Andrade that Andrade should not sign the agreement negotiated by Star Boxing and Banner Promotions with Showtime for Andrade to fight Charlo," the suit said. "Specifically, Fried told Farris that Roc Nation and Jay Z did not want Andrade to fight on the Showtime card and that Roc Nation, even though it did not promote Andrade, had already been negotiating with senior HBO executives about Andrade fighting on their network. Fried further stated that once Roc Nation became Andrade's promoter, he would get a much better deal with HBO -- a lesser opponent for more money.
"As a further inducement, Fried created a false fear that Charlo's representative, Al Haymon, was very influential at Showtime and, as a result, Andrade would not be treated fairly. The proposed Showtime fight with Charlo presented Andrade, Star Boxing and Banner Promotions with a tremendous opportunity because Showtime, provided Andrade signed the bout agreement to fight Charlo, was also offering Andrade a future three-fight television deal with a fight-by-fight escalation in the rights or license fees being offered by the network."
The suit said that Farris told Roc Nation that unless it "immediately" purchased Andrade's contract "it was in Andrade's best interests to sign the contract with Showtime for the Charlo fight. If Andrade rejected the fight it would potentially ruin his career, as it would be difficult (if not impossible) for him to appear on Showtime in the future."
In early November, according to the suit, Fried told Farris that Jay Z had "personally authorized Roc Nation to pay Andrade $550,000 -- the same amount he was to receive for fighting Charlo -- if he rejected the fight with Charlo. Fried also reiterated Roc Nation's intention" to buy his contract from DeGuardia and Pelullo, for up to $2 million if necessary.
Andrade eventually rejected the Showtime offer, and he met with Roc Nation Sports officials, including Jay Z, at their New York offices a few days later expecting to collect his check and to finalize their deal. According to the suit, Andrade never received payment, despite repeated demands for the money, and that "contrary to Roc Nation and/or Fried's promises, no substantive or serious efforts were made to purchase Andrade's exclusive promotional rights from Star Boxing and Banner Promotions," despite Roc Nation Sports' promise that it would buy his contract.