Super middleweight champion Andre Ward lost an arbitration case to boxing promoter Dan Goossen on Wednesday that will keep the two legally bound to each other through the length of Ward's contract.
Ward has been with Goossen since his debut in 2004. Lately, the two -- now estranged -- have continued to battle outside the ring, namely over the length of Ward's deal, which has been rewritten and tended to multiple times. Tracing the source of the issue, there is a dispute over when his latest contract actually began. And for the second time in 10 months, the California State Athletic Commission upheld Goossen's end of the argument, which states that Ward's contract with the promoter is valid until 2016.
"It’s now time to sit down with Andre and his advisors to put these legal disputes behind us and concentrate on getting Andre back to fighting consistently, inside the ring," Goossen said. "Andre and I have had success together; and there’s no reason not to get back on track as a team to secure his status as the top fighter in the world behind Floyd Mayweather."
Ward's party, comprised of Josh Dubin and James Prince, released the following statement:
Dan Goossen likes to put out press releases that confuse the issue - so on behalf of Andre Ward, we want to be crystal clear: the 'legal issues' that he referred to are only just getting underway. It is only after a California judge or jury speaks that the legal issues will be resolved.
Today's decision from the California State Athletic Commission was not unexpected. From the very start, we do not feel that the commission has been looking out for the best interests of Andre Ward, the very boxer they are supposed to protect. To the contrary, for some inexplicable reason, the CSAC has continually bent over backwards to try to accommodate a promoter who we feel is taking horrible advantage of Andre and his career.
It is difficult to understand why the CSAC has refused to enforce its own rules - first, by upholding Goossen Tutor's Promotional Agreement with Andre when we feel that Dan Goossen clearly violated the commission rules by failing to disclose his co-promotional agreement with Antonio Leonard, and now by continuing to recognize and in fact extend the agreement when it is in clear violation of a California labor law that prohibits promotional contracts that last more than seven years. Why the CSAC is favoring a promoter, even when it means turning a blind eye to its own rules and the law, is a bit of mystery at this point - but we can assure you that we will get to the bottom of why that is happening and bring it to full light. This is an important matter not just for Andre, but for any fighter that risks his or her life in the state of California.