Golden Boy Promotions filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday against featherweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez and his Mexican promoter, Osvaldo Kuchle's Promociones del Pueblo, on the eve of Gonzalez's title defense.
Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs) is scheduled to defend his 126-pound world title against Gary Russell Jr. (25-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night on Showtime at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Although Golden Boy did not name Al Haymon, Russell's manager, in the suit, it is clearly also aimed at him.
Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy claims it has Gonzalez under contract and that Promociones del Pueblo conspired with Haymon to violate its exclusive rights to promote his bouts.
Golden Boy claims Promociones del Pueblo and Haymon repeatedly refused to put on Gonzalez-Russell until they cut Golden Boy out of the fight, therefore violating the agreement Golden Boy claims it has with Gonzalez.
"Golden Boy's contract with Jhonny Gonzalez couldn't be clearer -- the company has exclusive promotional rights for two years or four fights, and neither of those milestones has been reached to date," Golden Boy spokesman Stefan Friedman said. "Furthermore, the motive behind the defendants' adamant and longtime refusal to match Gonzalez with Gary Russell Jr. is now plain for the world to see. We will vigorously fight to ensure our contract is enforced."
Golden Boy, which is not making any effort to enjoin Saturday's bout, is seeking damages of no less than $1 million and for the court to enforce the company's existing promotional agreement with Gonzalez.
According to lawsuit, Golden Boy signed Gonzalez to an exclusive promotional agreement in December 2013.
"Golden Boy entered into a written agreement with Gonzalez and (Promociones del Pueblo) wherein Golden Boy obtained the exclusive right to promote Gonzalez's professional boxing matches throughout the world for a period of two years beginning on the first bout conducted pursuant to the agreement, or four fights, whichever comes first," the suit said. "The agreement further provides that Gonzalez will not take part in any professional boxing match prior to the first bout conducted pursuant to the agreement.
"In August 2014, Golden Boy proposed that Gonzalez fight Gary Russell Jr., a promising featherweight boxer, in either November or December of that year. (Promociones del Pueblo) initially ignored this proposal and then rejected it, preferring to have Gonzalez fight a lesser opponent, Jose Arce, in Mexico in October. Thereafter, Golden Boy continued to try and find appropriate fights for Gonzalez. However, (Promociones del Pueblo) consistently refused the fights proposed by Golden Boy for Gonzalez.
"In February 2015, it became clear why (Promociones del Pueblo) was refusing all of the fights proposed by Golden Boy for Gonzalez. (Promociones del Pueblo) was conspiring with Russell's manager/promoter, Al Haymon, to put together a fight between Gonzalez and Russell in which Golden Boy would not be involved."
Golden Boy was not involved in the promotion of the Gonzalez-Arce bout. Golden Boy said it has also not been allowed to be involved in the promotion of Gonzalez-Russell, leaving it no choice but to file suit.
The lawsuit also said that Golden Boy believes there are unnamed defendants responsible "for the acts and transactions hereinafter alleged and are liable to plaintiffs therefore" -- which one of which is apparently Haymon, which whom Golden Boy once did most of its business before cutting ties with he and his fighters as part of its recent settlement with former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, a close Haymon associate.
Gonzalez and his team declined comment through a spokesman.