- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Welterweight contender Robert Guerrero is seeking to break his contract with Golden Boy Promotions through arbitration with the California State Athletic Commission.
"What his issues are, I can't tell you. You'd have to ask him," Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We have totally complied with our contract with regard to the minimum purses and the number of fights, so I don't know what they are basing this on."
"Robert wouldn't have authorized the arbitration if he was happy with Golden Boy," Bruce Zabarauskas, Guerrero's attorney, told ESPN.com, declining to go into the particulars of why Guerrero was unhappy.
No hearing date has been set, according to Schaefer, who said he believes that the California commission does not have jurisdiction over their promotional agreement.
"The contract was not signed under California law, it was done under New York law, so you can't have the California commission rule on a New York promotional contract," Schaefer said. "Most of our promotional agreements are governed by New York law because that is where most of our sponsor deals and television deals are also governed, and we want to have consistency. Guerrero agreed to have his contract under New York law, and he was legally represented when he signed it."
Zabarauskas disputed Schaefer's view of the California commission's jurisdiction.
"You have a California fighter and a California promoter," he said of Guerrero, who is from Gilroy, Calif., and Golden Boy, which is based in Los Angeles. "If you buy Golden Boy's position, they can evade California commission rules whenever they want."
Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs), 30, who has won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight as well as interim belts at lightweight and welterweight, has not fought since May, when he earned a career-high $3 million purse for a lopsided decision loss challenging welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a Showtime PPV fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"He made a career-high payday last year and we put him in with Andre Berto in a big fight before that," Schaefer said. "We gave him the exposure he wanted and he made a lot of money. I'm proud of how we have promoted Robert Guerrero and of the money we have made for him.
"The guy was on my ass to get him the Mayweather fight for a long time. Finally, I get him the deal and now he is unhappy. I don't understand."
Zabarauskas said the five-year contract that Guerrero signed with Golden Boy in December 2008, which would have expired last month, was extended in March as a prerequisite for Guerrero getting the fight with Mayweather.
Zabarauskas said that the contract extension would take Guerrero beyond the five-year limit for promotional contracts under California law. That is similar to the law that helped Oscar De La Hoya break his contract with Top Rank in 2001 and to the law that reigning super middleweight champion Andre Ward is using in his litigation to free himself from a promotional contract with Dan Goossen.
Zabarauskas also said that because Guerrero was Mayweather's mandatory challenger that it was against the federal Muhammad Ali Act for Golden Boy to force Guerrero into signing a contract extension in order to get the fight with Mayweather.
"They insisted on the extension or they wouldn't give him the Mayweather fight," Zabarauskas said.
Mayweather could have selected another opponent, vacated the title and not given Guerrero the career-high purse.
Zabarauskas also said the deal Guerrero signed in March was not enforceable because it was not signed in front of the California commission and was not on the commission form, as per the California rules, even though Schaefer claims the agreement is governed by New York law.
Schaefer said he has offered Guerrero other fights since the loss to Mayweather, including what would have been a Dec. 14 bout with interim welterweight titlist Keith Thurman, but Guerrero turned down the fight.
"If Robert wants to fight, we have a fight for him. We have lots of fights for him," Schaefer said, ticking off the numerous name fighters he promotes in and around Guerrero's 147-pound weight class, including titleholders Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana, Thurman and former titleholders Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi and Victor Ortiz as well as junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia. "There are more. The list goes on and on. Robert turned down a couple of fights, but I am just going to let this play out and deal with it. We have to wait to hear from California if there is a hearing or not. In the meantime, we will keep offering him fights."
Zabarauskas disputed Schaefer's assertion that he offered Guerrero multiple fights.
"They made us one offer for one fight (with Thurman) that didn't comply with our agreement," he said.
Schaefer said he was disappointed in Guerrero's effort to break the agreement, especially after delivering him the fight he had begged for with Mayweather to go with the career-high payday that accompanied it.
"I'm going to have to have a serious word with Floyd," Schaefer said. "These guys beg me for Mayweather and then I deliver them the fight and they lose, and I guess they blame me. You saw it with Juan Manuel Marquez. I got him the fight with Mayweather and he lost every second of every round. You saw it with (Shane) Mosley, who lost almost every second of every round and you saw it with Guerrero. I don't know what Floyd is doing to these guys."
5dMalik Smith, ESPN Stats & Information