COURT FILING CLAIMS: "DON KING PRODUCTIONS MAY BE CLOSING DOWN"
By Scott Shaffer
According to a certification filed in New Jersey federal court moments ago, Don King has reportedly fired nearly all of his staff and "may be closing down" his company, the Florida-based Don King Productions (DKP). The court filing comes as part of ex-IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko's lawsuit against DKP. Today, Agbeko asked Judge Susan Wigenton for an emergency hearing seeking a court ruling that DKP has no rights over Agbeko's career. Agbeko wants the legal timetable sped up so he can negotiate a fight with no involvement from King. Agbeko's opponent of choice is mentioned as WBA 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, although Rigondeaux is fighting someone else this weekend. .
In support of the request, Agbeko filed a certification from Agbeko's manager Tom Moran. Interestingly, Moran's statement was not sworn to under penalty of perjury like most court certifications.
King has promoted 600+ world title fights over a 40-year run. If Moran is spreading false rumors, and it does seem unlikely that King would ever voluntarily shut down his company, DKP will likely file a response denying the allegation.
Moran's signed certification said, "I have heard from sources within boxing that Don King Productions, Inc. laid off all but two or three employees. From my previous dealings with Don King Productions, Inc., I understood the company had about twenty employees."
UPDATE: Boxingtalk has been advised that DKP recently released four employees but retains a total of 14 employees between Florida and Ohio. The source is not employed by DKP but has worked with the company over the years.
Agbeko is requesting a court order reading as follows: "During the pendency of this litigation, [Agbeko] is hereby permitted to negotiate and contract with boxing promoters other than [Don King and Don King Productions] and participate in any future boxing matches promoted by any such promoters; that during the pendency of this litigation, [Don King and Don King Productions] are hereby restrained from interfering with any promotional relationships [Agbeko] enters into and boxing matches resulting therefrom; that for any boxing matches [Agbeko] engages in during the pendency of this litigation not promoted by [Don King and Don King Productions]."
Agbeko is even willing to place 25% of his purses into an escrow account to protect King's rights if King ultimately prevails in the lawsuit.