Lem Satterfield

Top Rank attorney calls Mikey Garcia’s lawsuit ‘baseless’

A Top Rank attorney says he will "vigorously defend" the promotional company's rights against what he called a "baseless" lawsuit filed by Mikey Garcia. The WBO junior lightweight titleholder's lawsuit claims that his current contract with the Las Vegas-based promoter is illegal and has expired.

Top Rank lawyer David Marroso, who is a senior attorney with the Los Angeles-based O’Melveny and Myers law firm, said Top Rank's "promotional agreement is 100 percent legal, 100 percent valid and 100 percent enforceable."

Marroso took particular note of a one-on-one interview with Garcia's attorney, Bryan Freedman, and Fighthype.com.

"Top Rank should be smart about this whole thing. They should read their own contract and see it goes beyond the face of what it can be and they should say, 'Hey, you know, Mikey, we're sorry. Let's sit down and see if we can negotiate a new contract," said Freedman, according to Fighthype.com.

"I mean, that's what they should do. Because, look, at the end of the day, the contract's only going to last for so long. Even if they have an interpretation of what it is, it's still going to end, and why would they lock themselves out of the marketplace to be in a discussion with maybe one of the most attractive fighters in the next five years."

Marroso response?

"Mikey Garcia's lawsuit against Top Rank is baseless. The promotional agreement is 100 percent legal, 100 percent valid and 100 percent enforceable," said Marroso, in an e-mail to RingTV.com. "Mikey and his lawyers know this, which is why they are saying, ‘we should renegotiate.’  Top Rank has invested huge sums of money to help develop the Mikey Garcia brand, and we are going to vigorously defend our rights in court.”

Garcia's suit asserts that Top Rank has attempted to "exploit, own and permanently control" his boxing career, pointing to "Top Rank's consistent violation of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, a federal statute enacted for the express purpose of protecting professional boxers like Garcia from the exploitive practice of boxing promoters like Top Rank."

According to reports, court documents address Top Rank's pushing Garcia into signing a contract granting the company "the ability to extend the agreement indefinitely, essentially rendering the contracting fighter an indentured servant of Top Rank."

Garcia "has no further obligation to Top Rank under the 2009 promotional rights agreement that he signed. It's very clear for a number of reasons, but that's our position," said Freedman, in an interview with ESPN.com. "There are a number of reasons why it's invalid. Even if it hadn't expired under its own terms, Top Rank acted not only as a promoter but also as a manager under the definition of manager in California and that is against the law. This is an absolute fairness issue."

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