OAKLAND, CALIF. - WBA Super Middleweight Champion and the Number Two Pound for Pound Fighter in the World, Andre Ward, appeared before the California Boxing Commission on June 10, 2013, requesting an Emergency Hearing to address actions by promoter Dan Goossen. Following Ward's public statements asserting Goossen's violations of Commission Rules, the California Commission ordered the Emergency Hearing, which is being held on Tuesday, June 25.
"I believe I am in the prime of my professional boxing career. Actions of a California licensed promoter are preventing me from defending my title and pursuing my profession," said Ward. "A boxer has a limited timeframe 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."
Ward last defended his WBA Super Middleweight Championship on September 8, 2012, when he stopped Chad Dawson in the 10th round on HBO Championship Boxing. Following a January 4 surgical procedure to repair a torn shoulder muscle and subsequent rehabilitation, Ward has been training while waiting for a date for his next title defense. HBO informed Ward's Manager, James Prince, and co-promoters, Antonio Leonard Productions and Goossen Tutor, that there was a September date available for Ward. 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 California Boxing Commission at its scheduled bi-monthly meeting.
James Prince, Manager of Ward 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."
"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," added Ward. "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," Ward emphasized