Golden Boy Promotions scored a major victory on Wednesday in its dispute with welterweight contender Robert Guerrero when the California State Athletic Commission denied his request for arbitration to break his promotional contract.
"At this time, the California State Athletic Commission declines to accept Mr. Robert Guerrero's request for arbitration to determine the validity of the 'term sheet' dated January 15, 2013, between Robert Guerrero (Boxer) and Golden Boy Promotions, LLC, (Promoter)," the commission said in a letter sent to Golden Boy and Team Guerrero. "The 'term sheet' provides that the parties agree to be governed by the laws of the State of New York. Without making any express or implied findings, the California State Athletic Commission directs the parties to resolve their differences in New York."
The New York State Athletic Commission does not have an arbitration procedure for boxers in contractual disputes, so Guerrero would have to pursue his case through the New York courts.
Earlier this month, Guerrero sought the arbitration hearing in California to break his agreement with Golden Boy. At the time, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that he believed that the California commission did not have jurisdiction over their promotional agreement because the language in the deal said any dispute would be governed by New York law. He also said Golden Boy had complied with the contract in terms of offering the minimum number of fights and purses.
Schaefer did not gloat over Wednesday's victory. Instead, he told ESPN.com that he hopes the company can work things out with Guerrero.
"The most productive thing is for Robert and his team to sit down with us and see what we can work out," Schaefer said. "I know we have done a terrific job promoting Robert Guerrero's career so far, and I look forward to promoting more of his fights in the future. The most productive thing is to get him back in the ring as soon as possible and put this behind us."
Bruce Zabarauskas, Guerrero's attorney, who signed off on the agreement with the New York language in it, did not have settling the differences on his mind.
"The fight is just starting," he told ESPN.com.
Zabarauskas, who believes the contract with Golden Boy is invalid based on various legal technicalities, argued that because Guerrero is from California and Golden Boy is based in Los Angeles the California commission should hear the case.
Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs), 30, has won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight as well as interim belts at lightweight and welterweight. He 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. -- a fight Guerrero begged for -- in a Showtime PPV main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Before that big fight, Golden Boy arranged a significant fight for him with former welterweight titlist Andre Berto. Guerrero won that fight and faced Mayweather next.