By Rick Reeno
Top welterweight contender Mike Jones (26-1, 19KOs) has joined the recent string of fighters who are attempting to break their existing promotional agreements. Jones was last seen in action in the month of June on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the Philadelphia boxer suffered his first pro defeat when Randall Bailey knocked him out in the eleventh round.
Russell Peltz, who promotes Jones with Top Rank, has not heard from the boxer in months. Not long after the loss to Bailey, Jones stopped returning phone calls and replying to correspondence from Peltz and his manager Doc Nowicki.
After making several attempts to reach Jones in order to discuss potential return dates, Peltz received an email from New Jersey-based attorney Eric Melzer of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis - advising Peltz that all future correspondence to Jones should now be directed to his firm and they were "reviewing [Jones'] promotional contract."
According to Peltz, the attorney was referencing an old 2006 promotional agreement, and there have been two new agreements since that time. One of those agreements, which expires in December, has a clause that extends Jones' contract for an additional three years if Peltz is able to secure a title opportunity. When Jones fought Bailey, the vacant IBF welterweight title was at stake, which in turn would extend the promotional agreement with Peltz until December 2015.
In early July, Jones flew to Las Vegas to train with Floyd Mayweather Sr., but Peltz doesn't believe Mayweather or anyone connected to the trainer is involved with Jones' recent actions.
"He hasn't returned any of my correspondence since July 10, and the next thing I know I got an email from a lawyer saying 'direct all correspondence to us.' At the time the lawyer sent me that, he didn't have all of the contracts that Mike Jones has signed," Peltz told BoxingScene.com.
"The current agreement runs out in December, but the contract says that when he challenges for a world title we get a three year extension above and beyond the expiration date. When he sent me a letter, he mentioned a contract from 2006 and there have been two contracts since then. It's my belief that if he hasn't in fact seen the contract that Mike signed with me and Top Rank, he's getting it now. He hadn't even seen it when he contacted me two weeks ago."
Peltz has no idea as to what prompted Jones to hire a lawyer to review his existing contracts. Jones was featured numerous times on HBO, positioned on high profile pay-per-view events and a major title shot was secured.
"I can't recall having done a better job for a fighter, certainly in recent memory, than the one I've done for Mike. I can't imagine what he's not happy with," Peltz said.