by David P. Greisman
A legal battle between heavyweight contender Bermane Stiverne and promoter Don King has come to an end, according to what Stiverne told Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com.
“It's been maybe in the last 24 to 48 hours that we sat down like two grown men and we talked it out, so everything's good now. We worked it out,” Stiverne told Satterfield. “We're good right now, so, we settled, and everything is perfect. We didn't see eye-to-eye for a couple of months, and we decided to sit down and go over certain things. We're back together.”
This removes any legal obstacles for a rematch between Chris Arreola and Stiverne, which the World Boxing Council has ordered to be contested for the heavyweight title vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
Stiverne’s lawsuit was filed in early November over what Stiverne alleged were violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, according to reports by Courthouse News Service and Zach Arnold of FightOpinion.com.
The allegations date back to when Stiverne was meeting with King to sign for a June 2011 fight with Ray Austin, a bout that had been mandated by the World Boxing Council.
“When he arrived at the meeting, however, Stiverne was informed that he would not be permitted to sign the bout agreement with Austin unless he first signed an exclusive promotional agreement with DKP [Don King Productions],” Arnold quoted the lawsuit as saying.
“In fact, before they would present to Stiverne the bout agreement with Austin, Don King and DKP required that Stiverne sign three contracts at that meeting which related to either promoter or management services with Don King, DKP, Don King’s step-son Carl King, and Carl King’s company Elite Sports and Entertainment Management Inc.”
The lawsuit also claimed that the contracts granted Don King Productions 25 percent of the money he earned, and granted King and Don King Productions “an irrevocable power of attorney for up to 8 years” on matters such as agreements, receiving money, and the hiring and firing of Stiverne’s business managers.
Another 16 percent of his income would go to Carl King’s company.
Stiverne’s attorney argued that his client signed with King so as to get the bout with Austin, which could then lead to further bouts, including a fight with WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
King’s legal team disputed numerous allegations, and also filed a counterclaim against Stiverne and manager Camille Estephan for “breach of contract and tortious interference with a contract,” according to a copy of the legal filing obtained by BoxingScene.
King argued that Stiverne had long been under promotional agreements with him, the first one dating back to May 2005, the second from August 2007, and the third in April 2011, the latter a contract King argued is still valid. Stiverne and Estephan were accused of negotiating for a fight with Vitali Klitschko and without the involvement of Don King.
King’s counterclaim also noted that any claims were to be resolved with arbitration and not through litigation.
Online court files from last week indicate that Stiverne and King were to have a mediation session “held before the World Boxing Council.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at email@example.comTags: Don King , Bermane Stiverne