By Rick Reeno
The legal battle has begun, with respect to the promotional contract of WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez.
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing has officially filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Florida - against Benavidez, Top Rank, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, and boxing manager/adviser Billy Keane.
In the complaint filed by Lewkowicz's legal team and obtained by BoxingScene.com, it's stated that Benavidez was scheduled to fight Matt Korobov in a Shotwime televised fight on July 28th in Los Angeles.
Sampson Boxing paid Benavidez an advance of $50,000 for training expenses for the fight with Korobov.
Sampson Boxing claims 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 claimed in the documents that Arum paid Benavidez an advance of $250,000 as part of his new deal with Top Rank.
It's being claimed that Arum, Top Rank and Keane had conspired to interfere with Benavidez's contractual agreement with Sampson Boxing.
Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) 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.
As BoxingScene reported last month, the World Boxing Council has ordered immediate negotiations between Benavidez and top contender Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs). A purse bid has been set for Friday June 22.
Benavidez retained the world title back in February, when he won a twelve round unanimous decision in a rematch with Ronald Gavril.