Boxer Mares’ Managerial Contract Issue Headed for Arbitration
Former three division world champion boxer Abner Mares recently announced his intention to seek new management once his contract with current manager Frank Espinoza expired, with rumors stating he would seek to engage longtime advisor Al Haymon in the role. Over the past few months, Mares has been inactive, blaming his lack of fights on injury, but many, including Espinoza, believe he was purposefully sitting in order to “run out the clock” on his current contract. Now, it seems likely that Espinoza will seek arbitration as he seeks to extend his contract with Mares to make up for the lost earnings the boxer’s inactivity has caused.
Mares’ last public fight was his TKO defeat to Johnny Gonzalez in August 2013. Mares has in fact turned down several fight offers and withdrew from a planned February rematch with Gonzalez. Mares’ next scheduled fight is against Jonathan Oquendo in July, which is coincidentally after his contract with Espinoza expires. While there is nothing technically illegal in a fighter refusing bouts, even if it could be proved that he was not actually injured, the arbitration clause in Mares’ contract with the Espinoza Boxing Club would seemingly compel the boxer into arbitration over the dispute.
With a lifetime record of 24-0-1, Mares is a very successful, popular and lucrative sporting property, and the fights he has refused over the last few months would have been worth a great deal of money to his manager. While proving purposeful harm will be difficult, it is not impossible for an arbitrator to find that he owes his current manager before he can move on to a new team.