Dan Goossen suing Tony Thompson
Promoter Dan Goossen won't be at ringside for heavyweight Tony Thompson's second shot against champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland.
Goossen, who engineered Thompson's road back to the mandatory championship bout and negotiated the seven-figure fee, is suing Thompson and K2 Promotions -- Klitschko's company -- for breach of contract and interference with his promotional contract in California state court.
According to the suit, which was filed June 22 in Los Angeles, Goossen claims that after he negotiated the $1.050 million fee, Thompson and K2 refused to honor the deal.
Rafael's Boxing Blog
Get the latest scoop and analysis on the world of boxing from ESPN.com's Dan Rafael in his blog.
Goossen, who has promoted Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs) since 2005, claims his company, Goossen Tutor Promotions, is due 18 percent of the fee he negotiated -- $189,000 -- in addition to 18 percent of a potential rematch in the event that Thompson wins and Klitschko exercises his rematch clause.
According to the suit, "Thompson took full advantage of GTP's efforts, but just prior to signing the final agreement, refused to honor his agreement with GTP and GTP (was) informed Thompson signed the contract with K2 to the exclusion of GTP. ... Further, Thompson has refused to pay GTP the 18 percent of the purse GTP is owed for its promotional services."
Goossen said he brought the suit "begrudgingly."
"I was hoping it did not come to this and that we could work things out," Goossen told ESPN.com. "I truly regret it came to this. Money comes and goes, but integrity is here to stay. The strength and loyalty of my relationship with Tony has come from the respect and honor I have for him and his family but, unfortunately, I believe Tony received some bad advice from others which caused the rift.
"It's very disappointing to promote Tony for the past seven years, and then being successful in getting him another world championship bout against Wladimir, and not be there to enjoy the hard work both Tony and our company put in to make this a reality."
Goossen arranged all five of Thompson' fights since his 2008 loss to Klitschko and worked behind the scenes to maneuver him back to the mandatory position while Thompson won each of the bouts by knockout. Thompson said he was not letting the lawsuit bother him as he prepared for the fight.
"Dan can do what he wants. I don't even think about stuff like that," Thompson said. "Dan's supposed to be a buddy of mine but they tell you what they want you to hear. Soon as they don't get their way they want to bring strife to your life in the terms of suing you. But I'm not going to let that get in the way of what I have to accomplish. I have a job to accomplish. I'll let the lawyers work out the lawyers' stuff; I'll work out the boxing."
In the suit, Goossen claimed that he negotiated the deal with K2 Promotions, but that "K2 has failed to honor its agreement and has excluded GTP after it secured the fight for Thompson and negotiated the terms solely with GTP."
Goossen previously negotiated Thompson's failed 2008 title shot against Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), who knocked him out in the 11th round. According to the suit, Goossen negotiated a $900,000 package for that fight and did receive his 18 percent fee ($162,000).
Bruce Zabarauskas, the attorney representing K2 Promotions in the case, said that K2 should not be part of the lawsuit because the company is not involved in the dispute.
"Obviously, we don't think we belong in a lawsuit," Zabarauskas said. "It's a dispute between Goossen and Thompson, but he named us as a defendant in the lawsuit. We don't think there's a basis for it. If anything, we're just a stakeholder because we're responsible for paying the purse. We have an amount we're going to pay and that's our responsibility, but I guess the reason we were named is because we're writing the check. They probably just named us to see if they can gain some control over where that money goes."
Zabarauskas said K2 would discuss "with all the parties before the fight" about holding the disputed amount of money until there is a resolution.
"(Goossen) requested a portion of the purse be held. We've had some conversations with Goossen's people," he said. "But there's no basis for us to be liable for anything other than the purse to be paid out. We have an event to put on and we're basically in the middle of a fight between Goossen and Thompson."
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- McDonnell, Na Rachawat to vie for vacant title
- Briggs disrupts Klitschko news conference
- Hall will fight Butler in June to defend title
- Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76