Lem Satterfield

Top Rank settles with Gamboa, who is now a free agent

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 The attorney for Top Rank confirmed an initial report by BoxingScene.com that the promotional organization has dismissed its lawsuit charging breach of contract against former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa and reached an out-of-court settlement that will allow the unbeaten fighter to be a free agent.

Top Rank lawyer David Marroso, who is a senior attorney with the Los Angeles-based O’Melveny and Myers law firm, said that “there has been a resolution of the dispute” and that he submitted a “notice of voluntary dismissal” of the case on Thursday to the United States District Court of Nevada based in Las Vegas.

The move “terminates the case,” said Marroso, meaning “Top Rank is no longer pursuing an action against Mr. Gamboa.” 

“Arena Box has promoted Yuriorkis Gamboa for several years. Top Rank became Arena’s co-promoter a few years ago,” said Marroso. “Through the legal process, Arena and Gamboa decided to go their own ways. At the request of Arena, Top Rank agreed to allow that to happen.”

A former Cuban Olympic gold medalist, Gamboa pulled out of a scheduled Top Rank-promoted lightweight bout in April with Brandon Rios, who instead won a controversial split-decision over replacement Richard Abril.

Top Rank filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas for breach of contract against Gamboa, claiming that his move cost the company $1 million.

Although the notice of voluntary dismissal does not mean that Gamboa and Top Rank have settled out of court, Marosso said that “there has been a resolution settlement.”

“I am confirming that there was a settlement reached. Gamboa, Top Rank and Arena Box have reached a resolution that has been found to be satisfactory by all parties,” said Gamboa’s attorney, Sekou Gary.

“At this point, Yuriorkis is out of his promotional agreement with Arena and Top Rank, and we wish Top Rank and Arena the best, and I know that Top Rank and Arena wish Yuriorkis the best.”

Gamboa had filed for dismissal of the suit through Gary, who had contended that Gamboa’s contract with co-promoter Arena Box was not valid, and, by extension, neither was the one wtih Top Rank.

Click here for the motion obtained by RingTV.com.

The conflict played out in public as a series of Gamboa no-shows at events to promote the fight against Rios, including press conferences in Miami and Los Angeles, which left Rios at the podium alone to taunt Gamboa with posters labeling him a coward.

In an exclusive interview with RingTV.com, Gamboa cited contractual issues and an unsigned bout agreement among his reasons for skipping the events.

Gary had said that Gamboa refused to face Rios unless he was “operating under terms that are satisfactory,” regarding his contract with Top Rank and Ahmet Oner of Arena Box.

Gary would not elaborate on the specific details of the settlement.

“I can’t make any comments about the settlement or the agreement,” said Gary. “But I can say that Top Rank is a class organization, and the attornies that they hired, I have nothing but respect and admiration for them.”

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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