Fresh off his win over Gabriel Rosado, a bout that puts him in line for some big middleweight fights, David Lemiuex finds himself tangled up in some litigation. Yvon Michel, who is a promoter based out of Montreal, is suing Lemieux and others associated with him for $1.35M, asserting damages incurred when Lemieux supposedly broke their contract.
Specifically, in addition to Lemieux himself, Michel is suing Lemieux's representative, Camille Estephan and his Eye of the Tiger Management company, Golden Boy who announced it signed Lemieux to a promotional agreement last month, and HBO, which televised Lemieux's fight against Rosado last month. Michel is asserting that each of these parties have been complicit in Lemieux breaking his contract.
As is being alleged in the lawsuit, "GYM has always acted in Lemieux's best interest, and oversaw his development at every level, turning him into a top contender in the middleweight division, and a financially viable professional boxer and gate attraction."
In setting the foundation for the claim, Michel is alleging that Estephan had reached a deal with him to modify their previous agreement with Lemieux, but right after doing so he orchestrated Lemieux's move to Golden Boy, cutting Michel out altogether. Michel also claims that HBO was complicit in Estephan removing Michel as his promoter.
HBO once had a strong working relationship with Yvon Michel, a relationship that deteriorated when Adonis Stevenson (another Michel fighter) left the network to go to rival Showtime. This particularly pissed off HBO as they believed they had a deal in place for a Stevenson-Kovalev fight at the time.
Meanwhile, Estephan is claiming that Lemieux's deal with Michel had been "expired for quite some time" and is denying any verbal agreement that was supposedly reached between he and Michel.
"They are based on allegations from GYM that they have a verbal agreement extending the contract and are simply seeking damages," Estephan said. "I can tell you that in no way, shape or form David nor I have ever agreed to anything verbally with GYM or anyone associated with them.
"We do not have any concerns that their suit would slow down David's ascension and career. Hence we are looking forward and working diligently with GBP on making the fight for the IBF title between David and Hassan N'Dam."
Despite his assertion, it remains to be seen whether or not the title fight between Lemieux and N'Dam will take place, and if HBO would be willing to televise another Lemieux bout before this is all settled in court, as it could potentially open them up to additional damages.
These kinds of things happen all the time in the world of business, not just in the notably dirty business of boxing. A person (or company) thinks it has a deal in place only to find out they've been cut out in lieu of a better prospect. I find it to be somewhat poetic irony that Michel would complain about HBO conspiring to cut him out when he in essence did the exact same thing to them with Adonis Stevenson a year ago. Regardless of the personal feelings between the two, it always winds up about money and that will be the real issue to settle going forward.