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Lawsuit could interfere with Super Six

Monday, August 3, 2009 | Print Entry

When Showtime announced the Super Six World Boxing Classic last month, one thing most boxing folks and fans agreed on was that the round-robin tournament featuring six top super middleweights was a fabulous idea, but one that certainly would have some bumps along the road during an 18-month trek from the Oct. 17 opening bouts to the final.

The tournament hasn't started yet, but already there could be -- I repeat could be -- a problem.

And I'm not talking about the fact that titleholder Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, who are scheduled to meet in their opening bout Nov. 21, are taking so-called "tune-up" fights on a special edition of Showtime's "ShoBox" on Sept. 12.

Naturally, there is the possibility that Kessler could lose or get hurt against mandatory challenger Gusmyl Perdomo. Ditto for Ward, who faces the likely non-threatening Shelby Pudwill (who was once knocked out by John Duddy in one round at middleweight). But you just never know what's going to happen when the bell rings.

Outside the ring, however, there could also be trouble brewing.

Mogens Palle, who has promoted boxing in Denmark for more than 50 years, is not letting go of Kessler so easily, even though Kessler dumped Palle after a 10-year run together and signed recently with German powerhouse promoter Sauerland Event just before the tournament became official.

Palle is threatening to sue everyone under the sun for interfering with what he believes is a valid promotional contract with Kessler.

"I've been biting my tongue for too long and now I want to set the record straight about Kessler, about the pirate promoter Sauerland Event and the pirate cable TV network Showtime," Palle said. "I am suing or will sue Kessler, Sauerland and Showtime. I will pursue my breach of contract and other legal claims against all of these parties and some others who have interfered with my existing and ongoing exclusive promotional contact with the WBA super middleweight champion.

"Showtime's Ken Hershman never called me about putting Kessler into the Super Six tournament that Showtime and other [European] networks are financing. Clearly, Hershman and Showtime purposely and knowingly interfered with my promotional contract when Sauerland got together with them."

Palle claims Kessler signed a three-fight extension with him but ran out on him without honoring their deal.

"It is all written down in the contract that I have the exclusive right to promote three more Kessler bouts," Palle said. "Obviously, those rights are extremely valuable. But I am going to fight Kessler, Sauerland, Showtime and any others involved in such contractual interference in every court and in every country I need to. It's not only about money, it's also about principle."

Palle compared the situation to that of a fight in which the referee tells each boxer to protect himself at all times.

"When Sauerland and the interfering TV network Showtime work together, all boxing promoters and managers are advised to do the same, to protect their contractual rights," Palle said. "I am just doing what Showtime would do if someone interfered with and ran off with one of their popular television shows, with any program they have legal rights to. I wish Kessler continued success in the ring. But, in a court of law in Denmark and in the United States, the contract that Kessler intelligently and freely signed and agreed to, will prevail."

Regardless of the threats of litigation, Showtime is moving forward with the tournament. It even unveiled its first promotional spots touting the tournament during its two boxing telecasts over the weekend.

Hershman, who came up with the idea for the Super Six and runs Showtime's boxing programming, wouldn't address Palle's complaint, offering only, "We don't comment on litigation."
Fitz
That's interesting, and not a surprise that the tournament has hit some bumps, but I hope all heads prevail and it goes on without a hitch.
Mean Mister Mustard
I hope it goes better than that lightweight tournament that never got wrapped up.
JD
That would really blow if this thing got screwed up.
Thegreatequalizer
sounds like that guy has some sour grapes and is trying to get some attention. hopefully that's the case and nothing happens.
Big Slim Sweet
Kessler out. Bute, Bika or Green in.
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