Boxer Robert 'Ghost' Guerrero's fight schedule in limbo
World super-featherweight champion Robert "Ghost" Guerrero of Gilroy would like to defend his title for the first time in December against Rocky Martinez, but a legal battle over his promotional rights has intensified so dramatically that it might not be possible.
Last week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge vacated a 2008 arbitration ruling by the embattled California State Athletic Commission and declared "the award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means."
The 2008 arbitration ruling allowed Guerrero, handled by veteran manager Shelly Finkel, to split from Sherman Oaks-based Goossen Tutor Promotions and fight for Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. The 26-year-old Guerrero (25-1) has fought four times under the Golden Boy banner this year, winning the International Boxing Federation title in August.
Now, Goossen Tutor has declared in a news release that it "remains the promoter" of Guerrero, but the fighter's team responded in its own statement that the Goossen Tutor deal has expired and Golden Boy will continue promoting the boxer. A re-arbitration case will occur, and Golden Boy Chief Executive Richard Schaefer said he is eager to let that process begin.
Yet, Goossen attorney Nomi Castle told The Times today that her schedule is backlogged through this month.
"We can't just jump on this in order to meet their goals of a fight promotion they're planning in spite of a court order," Castle said. "It's beyond insane."
Castle said she believes the judge's ruling last week was a response to the commission itself seeming "rife with corruption, and that everyone involved with this acted unprofessionally and unethically beyond belief."
Castle noted that the former arbitrator, ex-state athletic commission executive officer Armando Garcia, never signed an arbitration decision. His assistant, Bill Douglass, issued the decision that allowed Guerrero to join Golden Boy, and Goossen attorneys claimed that California Deputy Atty. Gen. Earl Plowman authored the decision, with the support of his supervisor, Karen Chappelle. The commission then deadlocked on a request to vacate the decision.
"Earl Plowman and Karen Chappelle told the commission this was Mr. Garcia's decision; the attorney general's office lied about it," Castle said. "Now that the court has vacated the arbitration award, Golden Boy is supposed to stop promoting Guerrero."
-- Lance Pugmire