Promoter Dan Goossen’s contract with RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward has been upheld by a California State Athletic Commission arbitrator.
Ward had requested an arbitration hearing in an attempt to release him from the contract with Goossen, who the fighter said violated commission rules and prevented him from fighting this year.
Goossen has promoted Ward since he turned pro after winning a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.
“We’ve enjoyed a very honorable and successful relationship with Andre Ward and I can only hope having to go through this whole legal process will only strengthen our relationship moving forward,” Goossen said in a press release. “I’ve said for years that he had the talent — both in and out of the ring – possessed by the other greats before him such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and, of course, Floyd Mayweather.
“Now I look forward to getting back to promoting Andre’s next bout, as well as helping him become the No. 1 fighter in the sport.”
RingTV.com was unable to reach Ward for comment. However, he told ESPN.com that he is considering taking his case to the courts.
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 possible September return on the network, thus holding up his career.
Ward said in his own press release that HBO informed Prince and co-promoters Antonio Leonard Productions and Goossen Tutor that a September date was 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 claims.
Ward abruptly left training 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.”