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Andy Cruz is just two fights into his pro career and already embroiled in his first full-blown lawsuit

Andy Cruz is just two fights into his pro career and already embroiled in his first full-blown lawsuit

Andy Cruz is just two fights into his pro career and already embroiled in his first full-blown lawsuit.Nara24fm.com has confirmed the 2020 Olympic Gold medalist and fast-rising lightweight filed an eight-count complaint against New Champions Promotions, LLC (NCP). and company president Jesse Rodriguez individually with the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California. The complaint cites Violation of the Ali Act, Violation of the California Business and Professions Code §§18628, Breach of Contract, Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, Account and Declaratory Relief.

“Despite having only participated in two professional boxing matches, Cruz is acknowledged as one of the best boxers in the world at his division,” Gregory Smith, representing Cruz, stated in the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by Boxing Scene. “Tragically, Cruz’s promoter, New Champions Promotions, LLC. and its principal, Jesse Rodriguez, have abused Cruz’s trust by taking his money, which is both a breach of their contract and a violation of the law.”

Cruz seeks a trial jury and relief for damages in excess of $100,000. Matchroom Boxing was also named in the complaint, though primarily as Cruz’s co-promoter and not directly accused of any wrongdoing. The complaint also cites DOES 1-25 as defendants; those identities—however many—are expected to be revealed as the lawsuit progresses and further moves into and through discovery.

Allegations were raised that Rodriguez and his company signed Cruz upon his defection from Cuba last year under the false pretense that they would promote his bouts. Rodriguez and NCP instead delivered him directly into a co-promotional contract with Matchroom in May.

Their first fight together was on July 15, when Cruz outpointed Juan Carlos Burgos (35-8-3, 21KOs) over ten rounds on the Alycia Baumgardner-Christina Linardartou DAZN-headlined card in Detroit, Michigan. Less than five months later, the Miami-based Cuban landed on the December 9 Devin Haney-Regis Prograis DAZN Pay-Per-View undercard, where he scored a spectacular third-round stoppage of Jovanni Straffon (26-6-1, 19KOs).

According to the complaint, Matchroom reportedly paid an estimated $500,000 between fight purses and a signing bonus. From that amount, Cruz’s team contends that Rodriguez and NCP pocketed more than $100,000 in claims that they were entitled to 25 percent, though they claim no such language exists in the promotional agreement.

Nara24fm.com has yet to obtain a copy of said agreement between Matchroom and Cruz/NCP In order to verify that detail. However, the suggestion was Rodriguez acted as both a manager and promoter—a violation of the Ali Act, though sadly commonplace for people in that same position to exploit loopholes to double dip into a fighter’s purse.

Cruz was among the most gifted member of an always stacked Cuban amateur team which competed in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Cuba claimed four gold medals, highlighted by Cruz’s win over longtime amateur rival Keyshawn Davis—also a rising lightweight in the pros—in the final round of the lightweight bracket.

Less than a year later, Cruz was persona non grata with the Cuban amateur system after previously attempting to defect last spring. The move cost him a place on the Cuban team that that was permitted to box as pros in Mexico, though he found his own way after he eventually made it to Miami and signed with NCP last November.

NCP agreed to directly promote Cruz and pay for his services, though no such events ever took place under the agreement.

Instead, NCP brought Cruz to Matchroom, all of whom entered a promotional agreement that included a signing bonus. The agreement “permitted Cruz’s payments from Matchroom to first be paid to NCP, which was then expected to distribute the funds to Cruz. The Boxing Promotional Agreement did not allow NCP to keep or divert any of the funds paid for the benefit of Cruz.”

The complaint alleges that Cruz was only paid a portion of his signing bonus and that the rest was retained by NCP, in part to pay its legal team. The rest was allegedly kept for the personal benefit of NCP and Rodriguez.

A similar pattern came in the forced effort to get Cruz paid from his July 15 win over Burgos. According to the complaint, Cruz was never paid in full for the fight and that even of a portion of the amount he received was not distributed until October.

Cruz attempted to get ahead of the curve prior to his win over Straffon. He provided Matchroom and NCP with payment instructions, none of which included any stipulations for NCP to withhold any portion of his purse. NCP countered with the claim that Cruz “was not a party to the Boxing Promotional Agreement that Cruz was not legally entitled to communicate with Matchroom and that Matchroom was required to pay Cruz’s purse to NCP.”

According to the complaint, Matchroom functionally split the baby—the company paid half of the purse directly to Cruz. Matchroom paid the remaining 50 percent to NCO, who reportedly retained half of that amount (25 percent of Cruz’s total purse) despite instructions to the contrary from Cruz. In this capacity, it is argued by Cruz that NCP has attempted to act as a manager and not co-promoter.

“NCP is claiming the right to 25% of the money Matchroom pays Cruz for his signing bonuses and purses,” noted Smith. “Thus, NCP meets the statutory definition of “manager” under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 18628. NCP is not a licensed boxing manager per California law, rendering the Boxing Promotional Agreement illegal and void as to NCP.

“Further, Cruz is entitled to a judicial determination that he is free of any promotional ties and contractual obligations to NCP that might have existed under the Boxing Promotional Agreement.”

According to the complaint, Cruz acknowledged that Matchroom honored its portion of the agreement to date. The point of contention lies with NCP and Rodriguez, and the full amount which Cruz feels he is entitled.

“An actual controversy has arisen and now exists between parties regarding the rights and obligations under the Boxing Promotional Agreement and the law,” stated Smith. “Cruz seeks a judicial determination as to the legal rights and duties of the parties, including but not limited to, that NCP had no rights to control Cruz’s career and no right to any of the money paid by Matchroom under the Boxing Promotional Agreement.

“A judicial determination of the parties rights is necessary and appropriate to ensure that NCP and/or DOES do not steal any more of Cruz’s money or interfere with his career.”

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Spivey Cathy is a professional article writer who has gained extensive experience in the industry. Her work has appeared in esteemed publications such as BBC News and ABC. Currently, she is writing articles for Smogcoders.com, where she showcases her talent for captivating storytelling and technical expertise.

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