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Rios-Gamboa's off; Top Rank sues Gamboa
Brandon Rios will face Richard Abril instead of Yuriorkis Gamboa, whose co-promoter, Top Rank, has filed a lawsuit charging breach of contract.
The attorney for THE RING's No. 1-rated featherweight, Yuriorkis Gamboa, confirmed that the former Cuban Olympic gold medalist's fight with the magazine's No. 1-rated lightweight, Brandon Rios, scheduled for April 14 on HBO, has been canceled.
Gamboa's attorney, Sekou Gary, confirmed what RingTV.com was initially informed of through an e-mail which read the "April 14 Top Rank show, Rios v Gamboa is dead on HBO," and which cited an HBO internal email with a cancel notice.
In an initial report by RingTV.com, Gary said that the fighter would not face Rios unless he is "operating under terms that are satisfactory," regarding his contract with co-promoters Top Rank Inc. and Ahmet Oner.
In addition, RingTV.com has learned that Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has informed Yahoo!Sports that his company has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas for breach of contract against Gamboa.
Arum confirmed the filing to RingTV.com, but would not comment futher.
"This would have been a hell of a fight, but what can we do? We had a deal and he's not living up to the deal," Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo!Sports.
The Tweet also announced that Rios will face Richard Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs), the WBA's interim titleholder, in place of Gamboa.
Top Rank has retained lawyer David Marroso, who is a senior attorney with the Los Angeles-based O'Melveny and Myers law firm. Marroso's partner, Daniel Petrocelli, gained a wrongful death conviction against O.J. Simpson in 1997.
"I think that it's a great public relations move by Top Rank," said Gary, who has been contacted by Marroso.
"But I think that the evidence will show that the promotional contract between Gamboa and Top Rank has expired, and that there clearly was never any agreement to fight the Brandon Rios fight. The original promotional contract that Gamboa signed has expired, and then the contract that Top Rank is operating under with Gamboa is not valid."
In a copy of the suit, obtained by RingTV.com, Top Rank claims that Gamboa's move has cost the company $1 million.
"Gamboa’s refusal to participate in the April 14, 2012 bout against Rios constitutes an anticipatory breach of the Rios Bout Agreement and of Gamboa’s obligations under the Co-promotion Agreement and Ratification," read the suit.
"As a direct result of Gamboa’s anticipatory breach, Top Rank has suffered and will continue to suffer damages in an amount to be proven at trial, but not less than $1,000,000."
Prior to learning of the lawsuit, Gary was at least still hopeful that the fight could eventually happen.
"We definitely want the fight to happen, but that will be a decision that it left to Top Rank, at the end of the day. We're obviously not going to fight on April 14. But as far as a future fight, we want the fight, but that will be a decision that Top Rank will have to make at the appropriate time," said Gary.
"We're currently in talks in reference to his current status with Top Rank right now. There are disputes over his status and we're trying to come to a resolution as far as our viewpoints on the situation."
It is unclear as of now how the suit against Gamboa will affect the aforementioned talks. Gary could not be reached fo comment.
HBO's Sports Vice President of Programmming, Kery Davis, told RingTV.com on Monday that he and network officials were concerned that the bout between Rios (29-0-1, 16 knockouts) and Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) was not going to happen after Gamboa failed to appear at two promotional press conferences last week that were attended by Rios, his camp members and the fighters' mutual promoter, Top Rank Inc.
In an exclusive interview with RingTV.com, Gamboa cited contractual issues and an unsigned bout agreement among his reasons for not being present at the press conferences.
"So from that standpoint, he certainly didn't give anybody any confidence."
Top Rank alleges that Gamboa breached his contract with Arena and Top Rank, who co-promote him, by not going through with the Rios fight.
Below are more exerpts from the lawsuit.
1) "The true names and capacities, whether individual, agency, corporate, associate, or otherwise, of Defendant [John] DOES 1-10 are unknown to Plaintiff at this time. Plaintiff will ask leave of this Court to amend this Complaint to identify the true names and capacities of these Defendants when they become known to Plaintiff. Plaintiff believes each named DOE was responsible in some manner for the events and happenings stated and referred to herein."
2) "Based on express promises and representations from Gamboa that he would fight undefeated boxer Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios on April 14, 2012, Top Rank advanced Gamboa tens of thousands of dollars and began the colossal undertaking that is boxing event promotion."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org