Danish promoter Mogens Palle is suing Showtime for influencing Mikkel Kessler to leave his company and sign with German promoter Sauerland Event, the AP reports:
The complaint was filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan. It claims Showtime was unwilling to work with promoter Mogens Palle in putting together a six-man tournament featuring the 168-pound division that began last weekend in Europe.
The lawsuit says the network secured Kessler by working through German promoter Sauerland Event, which promotes fellow tournament member Arthur Abraham. Palle believes that represents a breach of his exclusive promotional rights to the Danish fighter.
"Kessler was a critical component (of the tournament)," said attorney Jethro Eisenstein, who represents Palle. "Showtime was courting Mogens Palle for some time and ... they had what they thought was a bad experience with Palle, and decided that they wanted to go around him.
"Showtime's intervention, you know, was at least part of the cause of Kessler jumping ship."
Palle is not seeking injunctive relief, Eisenstein said. The promoter is instead asking for compensatory damages exceeding $75,000 and punitive damages to be determined by a jury.
Kessler and the Palles were squabbling hardcore long before the Super Six really got rolling. Ever since Kessler's loss to Joe Calzaghe in November 2007, he'd been having promotional issues. This seems like a pretty desperate attempt by Palle to pin Kessler's leaving on somebody. Even if he's right, it's going to be hard to prove anything.
Showtime offered no comment on the situation.