By Rick Reeno
The legal battle didn't last too long.
Last week, promoter Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing officially filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Florida - against WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez, Top Rank, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, and boxing manager/adviser Billy Keane.
Sampson Boxing claimed that on or about May 18th of this year, Keane convinced Benavidez to accompany him for a meeting with Arum to discuss a new promotional contract with Top Rank.
On or about May 18, Arum allegedly contacted Lewkowicz and allegedly told him that his promotional agreement with Benavidez was "weak" and "unenforceable" - and that Benavidez had signed a new promotional contract with Top Rank. Arum then allegedly offered Lewkowicz a sum of money to co-promote Benavidez under the new agreement with Top Rank.
It's stated in the legal documents that Arum paid Benavidez an advance of $250,000 as part of his new deal with Top Rank.
There was only one problem, Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) had signed a new promotional contract with Lewkowicz in November of 2017 - and that contract, according to the documents attached to the filed complaint, is valid until 2021.
Benavidez had been scheduled to fight Matt Korobov in a Showtime televised fight on July 28th in Los Angeles - as the co-feature to Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter.
But because of the legal situation, Benavidez was removed from the card and will now face his mandatory challenger Anthony Dirrell, which the sanctioning body ordered a few weeks ago.
Lewkowicz has advised BoxingScene.com that Benavidez will remain with his company, and adviser Al Haymon - and the boxer returned the $250,000 signing bonus to Top Rank.
Lewkowicz intends to continue his lawsuit against Keene.
"I'm very happy that Benavidez is back home. I expect my lawyers and Bob Arum to finalize everything this week and continue our friendship. This was a misunderstanding. There are no bad feelings because they were misled. However, I intend to continue my lawsuit against Keane. He misled Top Rank, he misled Benavidez, he misled Bob Arum - and he's going to get everything that is coming to him. He will not get off for free. He has a lawsuit pending in Florida and shortly he will have another one pending in California," Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com.