By Jake Donovan
Top Rank has taken another swing at taking on adviser Al Haymon and his boxing enterprise in court. The Las Vegas-based promotional outfit has filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and California Unfair Competition law.
The complaint was issued on October 30, the deadline imposed by the judge who dismissed Top Rank’s prior submission two weeks prior. Haymon’s legal team successfully filed a Motion to Dismiss, with the judge ruling on October 16 that the previous complaint lacked the necessary details to proceed to a jury trial, requesting stronger examples to support allegations of unfair competition and violations of the Muhammad Ali act.
In a 105-page amended document obtained by BoxingScene.com, Top Rank and its legal team are more specific in its previous examples cited, including blocked attempts to secure the services of “Championship-Caliber boxers” such as Deontay Wilder, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, Abner Mares, Adrien Broner and Errol Spence.
Also listed (though not limited to) in supporting its case:
• Specific examples of fights that were deterred involving fighters currently under Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner
• The PBC series dominating the U.S. televised boxing market, citing a 3:1 balance of PBC fights on air over the past five months as opposed to events outside of Haymon’s influence
• Haymon purchasing airtime through exclusive output deals with all four major free-TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) as well as several regional cable outlets (ESPN, NBC Sports Network, Bounce TV, Fox Sports 1, Spike TV), thus preventing other promoters from working with said networks
• Examples (through social media) of fighters referring to Haymon as a “promoter”, which would conflict with his advisory role
Efforts to reach Top Rank’s legal team went unreturned as this goes to publish.
The original lawsuit – filed by Top Rank on July 1 in seeking $100 million in damages and an injunction to stop the alleged predatory practices by PBC – was countered by Haymon’s legal team with a request for Motion to Dismiss on August 31. Top Rank filed a Motion of Opposition on September 18, which was met with a File to Reply by Haymon’s side.
Enough evidence existed for the judge to move forward with a final ruling, thus canceling a previously ordered October 5 ruling for representation from both parties to appear in court.
The judge ultimately ruled in favor of Haymon’s dismissal motion, though granting Top Rank two full weeks to file a Second Amended Complaint.
One major stipulation, however, was that Top Rank could not name in its complaint defendant Waddell & Reed Financial, the investment firm that provided Haymon with the necessary financial war chest (estimated in the neighborhood of $450 million) to proceed with the PBC model in present form. In the October 16 dismissal ruling, the U.S. District Court in California granted the investor’s motion to dismiss in its entirety, meaning the group cannot be named in future complaints involving this case.
Should the judge find the amended complaint contains meets the mandated requirements, the case will move to a jury trial. At that point, it is up to the defendant to disprove such allegations, whereas the process prior to then require the plaintiff to provide enough evidence to support its claims.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox