Court Refuses to Rescue Boxer from Bad Contract

Court Refuses to Rescue Boxer from Bad Contract

(Editor’s note: What follows is an excerpt from Sports Litigation Alert)

A federal judge from the Eastern District of Michigan has denied a boxer’s motion to reconsider his decision dismissing the boxer’s claim that his former manager interfered with his boxing career.

The plaintiff, Jermaine Franklin, Jr., is a professional boxer who first met the defendant, Mark F. Haak, in 2014 after he won the U.S. National Golden Glove amateur championship. That same month, Franklin entered into a contract with Haak. From December 2014 until July 2018, Franklin worked under Haak’s management. During that time, he was 17-0. Franklin claimed the defendant never compensated him more than $3,000 for any of the fights.

In August 2018, Franklin’s mother informed Haak on behalf of Franklin that he was ending the boxer-manager relationship. Franklin enlisted Aaron Alfaro as his spokesperson who then contacted Haak, informing him that Franklin wished to end the boxer-manager relationship, according to the complaint.

In late October 2018, Franklin entered into a promotional contract with Salita Promotions to fight on Feb. 15, 2019 as the main event on a telecast. However, according to Franklin, Haak contacted the Senior Vice President of Showtime, Inc., Gordon Hall, and explained that he was Franklin’s manager. He said he had not granted approval for Franklin to participate in the fight, which led to Showtime dropping him from the fight.

On Jan. 14, 2019, Franklin sued Haak, alleging, among other things, violation of the Pennsylvania Boxing Act. Haak filed a counterclaim, requesting a declaratory judgment that the contract “is valid, binding and enforceable.”

On Jan. 21, 2020, the court granted Haak’s motion to dismiss in part and denied it in part. Among the counts dismissed was Franklin’s allegation that Haak violated the act. In so ruling, it reasoned that …

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