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MADISON SQUARE GARDEN BOXING, INC. v. SHAVERS

June 28, 1977.

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN BOXING, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
Earnie SHAVERS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: OWEN

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

OWEN, District Judge.

 Before me is a motion by plaintiff Madison Square Garden Boxing, Inc. (the Garden) for a preliminary injunction enjoining defendant Earnie Shavers, heavyweight championship contender, from participating in any boxing match until he fulfills his contractual obligations to plaintiff.

 On June 23, 1977, I held a hearing at which Teddy Brenner of the Garden, Earnie Shavers, and Frank Luca, Shavers' business manager, testified. Also before me were various documents and affidavits. Because of time pressure, I notified the parties on Friday, June 24th, that the preliminary injunction was granted. In conformity with Rule 52(a), I now state my findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 The Garden has an option contract with Muhammed Ali for a heavyweight championship bout to take place between September 1 and October 10, 1977. This option will expire on July 1, 1977 unless the Garden exercises the option by June 30, 1977.

 The Garden, through Teddy Brenner, its matchmaker, entered into negotiations with Frank Luca, Shavers' business manager, for this championship fight. By about May 16, the parties were in essential agreement. In a telephone conversation between Brenner and Luca, Brenner asked Luca to send him a telegram accepting the Garden's offer. A telegram, set out in the margin, *fn1" signed by Shavers, Luca and Joseph Gennaro, Shavers' manager, "accepted" the Garden's "offer."

 Upon receipt of and in reliance upon this telegram, the Garden reached a multi-million dollar agreement with the National Broadcasting Company to televise the fight.

 The next day Brenner prepared a "letter agreement" to "document the substance of an understanding between us." This letter agreement differed from the telegram in certain particulars:

 (a) The date for the exercise of the option was extended from June 15 to July 1, 1977;

 (b) The purse was set as a "total amount of $200,000" instead of "a minimum guarantee of $200,000;"

 (c) There was an express non-competition clause.

 On or about May 23, 1977, Brenner telephoned Luca to check that everything was in order and ask if the letter agreement had been signed. The parties worked out certain discrepancies during this conversation:

 (a) The option date was extended to July 1, 1977 to coordinate with the Ali option;

 (b) Shavers' compensation beyond the $200,000 was to include both closed-circuit television rights in Ohio if the bout was telecast on closed-circuit, and Shavers' training expenses at Grossingers which would normally be paid by Luca and Gennaro, *fn2" as well as some ...


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