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PROMOTERS SQUARE OFF OVER PACQUIAO.

Byline: ROBERT MORALES BOXING

Manny Pacquiao's seven-fight contract that was signed last week with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions may not last very long, thanks to a clause in Pacquiao's contract for the fight with Erik Morales on Nov. 18 in Las Vegas.

That fight is being promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., who said Wednesday that a paragraph in the contract for that fight specifically prohibits Pacquiao from signing a promotional contract with anyone until after the fight with Morales.

Arum said that if Pacquiao and Golden Boy do not take steps to void the contract, he could resort to legal action.

``It is clear that he (Pacquiao) was prohibited from signing with Golden Boy or any other promoter at least until after the Morales fight takes place,'' Arum said via telephone from his offices in Las Vegas.

Arum said he puts this type of stipulation into most of his contracts.

``When we sign somebody to a major promotional fight and we're paying them millions and millions of dollars, we don't want them signing a deal with another promoter,'' Arum said. ``We want the opportunity during the promotion to see if we can reach an arrangement with the kid, with his management team, and if we can't, then he is free to go.

``Also, it distracts from the promotion, takes away from the promotion we're doing. In other words, when somebody signs a contract like that for a major fight, we feel, in effect, we own his services and his promotional loyalty, at least until after that fight.''

Pacquiao, who was formerly promoted by Gary Shaw, was a free agent when he signed with Golden Boy. But Arum said that is immaterial because it is clear Pacquiao violated the contract he signed with Top Rank to fight Morales.

Arum said representatives for Pacquiao knew exactly what was in that contract.

``It wasn't like this was a clause they were unaware of,'' Arum said. ``They went over the contract of the fight with a fine-tooth comb.''

Arum said it is his understanding that Pacquiao may be having second thoughts about his contract with Golden Boy.

``If he was prohibited from signing the contract, he may feel that he may have to go to Golden Boy, give them back the money and rescind the contract,'' Arum said. ``And Golden Boy, we got a letter from their lawyers (Tuesday) saying that they didn't know about the prohibition.

``But they want to see a copy of the contract, which we are sending them, and I think they (Golden Boy) may back out.''

Eric Gomez, a vice president at Golden Boy and longtime pal of De La Hoya, said voiding Pacquiao's contract with Golden Boy is not going to happen.

Gomez said that Top Rank, as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, still had not sent Golden Boy a copy of Pacquiao's contract for the Morales fight. Pacquiao had faxed one over to the Golden Boy offices in downtown Los Angeles.

``We do have Manny Pacquiao signed to a legal, binding contract,'' Gomez said. ``We feel that we did nothing wrong. Our attorneys have looked over the contract and they feel very confident that he (Arum) doesn't have a case. We like to do business ethically. If it wasn't ethical, we wouldn't do it.

``We have contacted Manny and he feels confident, his attorneys feel confident. If Bob Arum has a quarrel with us, he knows how to get in touch with our attorneys.''

If Golden Boy does not tear up the contract, Arum said he would consider filing a lawsuit.

``Well, yeah, it's always open to us,'' he said. ``Our contract was violated, and depending on the facts, it may have been tortiously interfered with by Golden Boy. And, certainly, if they don't take steps now to rescind the deal with Pacquiao, then it's clear they are tortiously interfering.''

Arum said he is hopeful that ``good sense will prevail.''

Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy, said Friday that if Arum believes he has grounds for a lawsuit, bring it on.

``If Arum wants to sue us, then he can sue us,'' Schaefer said. ``If he thinks he has something, we will defend ourselves.''

Schaefer would only say that it's all a matter of interpreting the language of the contract in question.

16-year-old now in shape to fight

Robert Herrera was a mess when he walked into the Northridge Athletic Club six months ago. He had been pulled out of a local high school by his father because he was getting into too many fights. And he also weighed 235 pounds.

``This kid had no motivation for anything,'' said John Bray, a world-class trainer who trains, among others, featherweight world champion Robert ``The Ghost'' Guerrero. ``He just looked like a big, fat, lazy kid.''

Now, the 6-foot-1 Herrera weighs 190 pounds and has been a quick student of the game. He will take a 4-1 record into next week's National Police Athletic League Championships at the PAL gym in Oxnard. Herrera, 16, will box in the Junior Olympic division for ages 15-16. The tournament is an pre-Olympics qualifier for open division boxers ages 17-34.

Herrera said that part of the reason he at first appeared to have little desire is because of all the extra pounds he was carrying.

``I didn't have any motivation because it was way harder to work out with all that body weight on me, and it felt stressful,'' Herrera said, ``and it felt like it would never happen, you know, (I'd) never lose the weight. It felt like (it took) forever to lose a pound, so I just kept on working hard and working hard, because I knew this was the only way I could stay out of trouble. So I just took advantage of everything that I had and everything that was in front of me.''

Bray, as well as stablemates Guerrero and Miguel Espino, another pro, offered encouragement.

``John Bray, I knew he was one of the greatest trainers in the sport at this time period, so I just did all my road work, and I just started losing weight, eating right,'' Herrera said.

Robert's father, Ruben, said he has noticed a world of difference in his son, and he gave most of the credit to Bray.

``I guess he and John took a liking to each other,'' Ruben Herrera said. ``All of a sudden, he is like Robert's big brother.''

Robert Herrera, a high school junior, said he recently enrolled in another school, and he said that his days of fighting outside of the ring are over.

``I had so much energy, and I didn't waste it, so I just wasted it on anyone that gave me a hassle,'' he said. ``I would waste it on them because I couldn't express myself through anything. It was where I expressed my feelings, by fighting. Those days are over, because I'm not about trouble anymore.''

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, box

Photo:

(1) Robert Herrera (4-1) will fight in the National Police Athletic League Championships.

Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer

(2) Manny Pacquiao, right, who defeated Oscar Larios in July, has signed a disputed promotional contract with Golden Boy Productions.

Romeo Gacad/Getty Images

Box:

Etc.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 30, 2006
Words:1209
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