Boxing star Ryan Garcia filed a motion to dismiss Golden Boy Promotions’ complaint against him Monday in U.S. District Court of Nevada, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.
Garcia argued his contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s promotion stipulates that any disagreement be mediated before filing a lawsuit. Golden Boy filed suit against Garcia on June 16 to enforce its contract with the boxer.
That suit was a response to a demand letter from Garcia’s legal team on June 9 alleging violations of the promotional agreement, as well as California and federal law, that invalidate the contract.
The letter called for mediation proceedings to begin the week of July 10 if Golden Boy didn’t cure all of the alleged contractual breaches.
“Rather than stand by their boxer, De La Hoya and his co-owners of Golden Boy took to social media to disparage him,” the motion alleged. “In a sport where the exploitation of boxers is legend, De La Hoya and Golden Boy have written a new chapter.”
It’s alleged in the motion that Golden Boy failed to fulfill its payment obligations to Garcia, didn’t honor broadcast commitments to the fighter and violated a non-disparagement provision in the contract.
“[Golden Boy] did not agree to cure the breaches identified in the June 9 letter and did not agree to or participate in any mediation proceedings,” the motion stated. “Rather … [Golden Boy] rushed to court and publicly filed the instant lawsuit.”
If the lawsuit against Garcia is dismissed, it could pave the way for Garcia and Golden Boy to work together on a fight before the end of the year. Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) suffered his first career defeat in April when he met Gervonta Davis in a superfight.
De La Hoya and Garcia both said that the fighter made $30 million for the bout, by far a career high. Garcia fought Davis at a 136-pound catchweight but will campaign at 140 pounds going forward.
“Golden Boy has been proud to have worked with Ryan Garcia for the last several years and to help catapult him to the kind of stardom that led to the biggest boxing Pay Per View event in years just two months ago,” Golden Boy Promotions stated in June after the lawsuit was filed “With this filing, we are seeking to ensure that Ryan and his team will honor the remainder of his contract, a contract that Ryan himself called ‘one of the most lucrative boxing deals for a prospect in the history of the sport.”
Reminiscent of Canelo Alvarez’s legal dispute with Golden Boy in 2020, Garcia’s letter suggested that Golden Boy entered conflicting agreements with its top boxer and its broadcast partner, DAZN.
When Garcia signed an extension with Golden Boy in September 2019, the contract included a carve out that allowed him to fight on pay-per-view with any network, according to the June 9 letter. Despite that language, Golden Boy advised Garcia that his April megafight vs. Gervonta Davis “could not happen unless it was broadcast on DAZN because of an exclusive agreement Golden Boy had separately negotiated with DAZN.”
The PPV fight vs. Davis was broadcast by Showtime, but DAZN also carried the fight on its streaming service and was paid a $1.25 million step-aside fee, $120,000 of which Garcia personally paid to DAZN, according to the letter.
Alvarez, boxing’s top star, was released from his contract with Golden Boy and DAZN in 2020 after it was argued that the language in his deal with the promoter didn’t mesh with Golden Boy’s contract with its broadcast partner pertaining to a trilogy fight with Gennaidy Golovkin.
Garcia, 24, also argued in the June 9 letter that Golden Boy violated California’s seven-year rule for personal service agreements. He signed with GBP on Nov. 1, 2016, and re-signed on Sept. 18, 2019. Garcia claims the contract should terminate on Nov. 1. De La Hoya himself argued that Top Rank violated the seven-year rule when he sued Bob Arum’s company in 2000.
Garcia also accused Golden Boy of failing to satisfy Ali Act disclosures and asked Golden Boy to amend agreements with DAZN that say Garcia isn’t exclusive to the streaming service. The boxer is also looking to be reimbursed for fees he paid DAZN to allow the Davis fight to proceed.
Golden Boy said it attempted to resolve the matter but was rebuffed and instead received claims from Garcia in the form of the demand letter. Golden Boy declined comment on the motion to dismiss its lawsuit when reached by ESPN on Tuesday.