Dan Goossen, the promoter of Andre Ward, remains baffled by the assertions made by Arthur Abraham’s promoter on Friday.
Wilfried Sauerland suggested in statements released to the media that the California State Athletic Commission intended to use a California referee in violation of an agreement to employ neutral officials.
Sauerland also said he would prevent Abraham from traveling from Germany to the U.S. for the May 14 fight in Carson, Calif., until the dispute was resolved.
“Contrary to what Dan Goossen said and contrary to what has been agreed upon by all parties, the Californian Commission still insists on appointing a Californian referee and a Californian judge,” Sauerland said.
In fact, Che Guevara, the commission’s acting chief athletic director, confirmed that the commission never intended to use a referee from California.
The commission originally insisted upon employing a domestic referee, settling upon one from Nevada, while Sauerland wanted one from outside the U.S. The parties on Friday agreed upon Luis Pabon of Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory.
Goossen said he has known for months that the referee would not be from California and didn’t really care where he came from. He said he trusted the commission to find the right man.
“I don’t know what possessed Wilfried to put out two separate press releases stating that California was insisting upon a California referee when a California referee had never been mentioned, much less insisted upon,” Goossen said. “
“We agreed from the outset to have neutral officials. What was announced today [that the referee will be from a neutral area] is what we agreed to two months ago. Why this became a controversy is beyond me.”
The parties also agreed to have one judge from California, one from Germany and one from a neutral country. The judges were announced Friday: James Jen-Kin of California, Ingel Barrabas of Germany and Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa.