By Kim Francesca Martinez
Cries of corruption have long plagued the collective reputation of boxing sanctioning bodies, whose mea culpas (if offered at all) do little to disabuse the fight press and public of their suspicions that unethical practices do indeed prevail.
Consider the case of William James, former Ratings Chairman of the International Boxing Federation.
James, employed by the IBF from June 7, 2010, until June 2, 2012, has sued the sanctioning body in New Jersey’s Union County Court.
In 2011, James claims that Luis Franco, featherweight and one of the shining stars of the 2004 Cuban Olympic squad, had been conferred a Top 10 ranking by the IBF, despite that Franco “did not meet the criteria to be ranked in the Top 10 and that it was illegal [and] in violation of the Muhammad Ali Act of 2000.”
Per James, Franco’s promoter, Gary Shaw, had been “[providing money to ‘Fight Fax,’ the business of Anibel Miramontes]’”—since June 2010, Miramontes had been in the IBF’s employ as a Ratings Consultant.
In his complaint, James alleges that he brought this to the attention of IBF Chief Executive Officer Daryl Peoples, only to be “ignored”— similarly, when he proceeded to inform the sanctioning body’s Board of Directors and request that they take action to halt the illegal activity, no resolution was reached.
In May 2012, James again raised his objections to IBF Treasurer and Board Member David McCullough, who allegedly responded with a “if you don’t keep your mouth shut, we are going to fire you.”
James then communicated his unwillingness to “work for a company that was corrupt.”
Five days later, James claims he was terminated “without any warning.” The explanation offered? That he “lived too far away.”
James, represented by Thomas McKinney, of Morristown, N.J., claims to have suffered lost revenues and emotional distress, and is seeking punitive damages for retaliation.
McKinney declined to comment on the lawsuit at time of print. As well, an email sent to IBF public relations was not immediately returned.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Promoter Gary Shaw, speaking with BoxingScene.com, denies the allegations being made, with respect to his company, in the lawsuit.