RING/WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward is scheduled to meet with the California State Athletic Commission on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to sever ties with Van Nuys-based promoter Dan Goossen, according to a statement by the Oakland-based fighter.
Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts), whose most recent fight was an HBO-televised 10th-round TKO of Chad Dawson last September, clams that Goossen, who has represented him since he turned pro after winning an Olympic gold medal in 2004, has violated commission rules and is preventing him from fighting this year.
Ward, who was sidelined by shoulder surgery early in 2013, stated that he would like to return to the ring in September following talks with Goossen and manager James Prince; however Goossen and Prince apparently are at odds over Ward’s future. Ward and Prince claim that Goossen, the president of Goossen Tutor Promotions, refused to meet with Prince and HBO about a possibile September return on the network, thus holding up his career.
According Ward’s press release, HBO informed Prince, and co-promoters, Antonio Leonard Productions and Goossen Tutor, that there was a September date available for him. When Ward requested that his manager and co-promoters meet with HBO to discuss the September date, future bouts and marketing plans, Goossen refused to attend the meeting. Ward abruptly left training (following his return from Canada where was an HBO commentator for the June 8, 2013 Stevenson-Dawson light heavyweight championship bout) to address the commission at its scheduled bi-monthly meeting.
“I believe I am in the prime of my professional boxing career,” Ward stated in his press release. “Actions of a California licensed promoter are preventing me from defending my title and pursuing my profession. A boxer has a limited time frame to earn his livelihood, provide for his family and, let alone, perform at a championship caliber level. Goossen’s actions leave me with the possibility of not stepping in to the ring at all in 2013. I respect the privilege of my boxing license and my responsibilities. I have always felt a comfort level boxing under the California Commission Rules, which fairly protect all fighters and ensure that licensed promoters are in full compliance.”
Prince stated: “It is absolutely crazy to me that this man would stand in the way of Andre’s boxing career and his next title defense, and not respect Andre’s request that his co-promoter and manager be part of those discussions. Understandably, HBO did not want to get in the middle of any dispute between Andre’s co-promoters or Andre and Goossen; but for this man to refuse to attend a meeting because he wanted to be the only one talking with HBO and have sole control over Andre’s career is flat out wrong. There are multiple reasons to terminate the promotional agreement with Goossen and we are following proper procedures with our sole objective of always doing what is in the best interests of Andre Ward.”
Ward concluded: “Goossen had various opportunities to meet with HBO, and to interact with my manager. He refused and otherwise did not respond to my team regarding these important business dealings concerning MY career. I defer to my manager and our attorneys regarding our request to terminate the promotional agreement and the blatant violation of specific commission rules that are in place to protect boxers from unauthorized actions of licensed promoters. Obviously, I feel very strongly about this matter as we are appearing before the California Commission to take action to ensure licensed promoters comply with their rules; and for what is in the best interests of not only my boxing career, but all fighters alike.”