The Goossen and the Gander

By Robert Ecksel on June 24, 2013
The Goossen and the Gander
Goossen knows the big fish eat the little fish. He, no less than Ward, knows his limitations.

If he can throw a wrench in the works he will. He has nothing left to lose, having already lost, at least in principle, that which he had to lose all along…

Super middleweight champion Andre Ward has gone as far as he can go under the Goossen Tutor banner. On Tuesday he will appear before the California Boxing Commission, where he first appeared on June 10 to request an Emergency Hearing to address behavior by his promoter Dan Goossen which Ward insists are in violation of Commission Rules.

“I believe I am in the prime of my professional boxing career,” said Ward in a written statement. “Actions of a California licensed promoter are preventing me from defending my title and pursuing my profession. A boxer has a limited timeframe to earn his livelihood, provide for his family and…perform at a championship caliber level. Goossen’s actions leave me with the possibility of not stepping in to the ring at all in 2013. I respect the privilege of my boxing license and my responsibilities. I have always felt a comfort level boxing under the California Commission Rules, which fairly protect all fighters and ensure that licensed promoters are in full compliance.”

The Ward haters—Ward hating, like Mayweather hating, having become ancillary to the sport—are having a field day. Why is Ward hated? The bullet points suggest that it’s (1) because he’s analytical and doesn’t breathe fire; (2) he’s self-righteous; (3) his squeaky clean image is belied in part by his less-than-squeaky clean actions in the ring; and/or (4) the haters were dissed and refuse to forgive, let alone forget. But personal feelings, which mean so much but are in fact worth so little, are neither here nor there. Andre Ward has been plagued by injuries, in a notoriously injurious sport, and understands that time is short, and boxing time even shorter, and if he’s to make hay it had better be while the sun shines.

Ward hasn’t fought since his September 8. He had surgery on January 4 to repair a torn shoulder muscle and has returned to the gym. HBO, to whom Ward remains loyal, informed his manager James Prince and co-promoters Goossen Tutor and Antonio Leonard Productions that they had a September date reserved for his next fight. Ward asked his manager and co-promoters to meet with the cable giant to discuss the matter, and Dan Goossen allegedly refused.

“It is absolutely crazy to me that this man would stand in the way of Andre’s boxing career and his next title defense,” James Prince said, “HBO did not want to get in the middle of any dispute between Andre’s co-promoters or Andre and Goossen; but for this man to refuse to attend a meeting because he wanted to be the only one talking with HBO and have sole control over Andre’s career is flat out wrong. There are multiple reasons to terminate the Promotional Agreement with Goossen and we are following proper procedures with our sole objective of always doing what is in the best interests of Andre Ward.”

“Boxing is the red-light district of sports,” the canonical Jimmy Cannon once wrote. Despite a degree of cordiality, everyone wants what is theirs, as well as what is not theirs, and is watching his or her back, as well as his or her front like a hawk. If one chooses pride over common sense, if one fails to be obeisant, the innate nature of the fight game reveals itself in all its punitive glory. Goossen knows this. He knows the big fish eat the little fish. He, no less than Ward, is aware of his limitations. If he can throw a wrench in the works he will. He has nothing left to lose, having already lost, at least in principle, that which he had to lose all along.

“Goossen had various opportunities to meet with HBO,” continued Ward, “and to interact with my manager. He refused and otherwise did not respond to my team regarding these important business dealings concerning MY career. I defer to my manager and our attorneys regarding our request to terminate the Promotional Agreement and the blatant violation of specific Commission Rules that are in place to protect boxers from unauthorized actions of licensed promoters.

“Obviously I feel very strongly about this matter as we are appearing before the California Commission to take action to ensure licensed promoters comply with their rules; and for what is in the best interests of not only my boxing career, but all fighters alike.”

That’s a fine statement. It’s good to see Andre Ward assert himself. It may ultimately be about right and wrong. It may ultimately be about money. Goossen is Ward’s promoter as of today, but if history is any guide, he will not be Ward’s promoter tomorrow.

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  1. Ted 05:49am, 06/26/2013

    Goossen’s smile is not all that sincere.

  2. Joe 04:02am, 06/25/2013

    It’s always about money.