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Boxing: Sugar Ray boxing wins lawsuit over MB match

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posted on Nov, 27 2003 @ 06:03 PM
Myrtle Beach Sun News - November 27, 2003

Sugar Ray Leonard's boxing company has won a lawsuit against a Columbia-based boxing promoter who tried to arrange a televised card in Myrtle Beach that cost the city $50,000.

The suit was one of several prompted by the failed event, which was to have taken place June 7, 2002, on Ocean Boulevard. Myrtle Beach and Horry County each invested $50,000. The county got a refund, but the city didn't and filed a lawsuit to reclaim the money.

The plans fell through after a dispute between Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing LLC and promoter Bobby Mitchell, who worked with two Horry County businessmen to arrange the fight. Mitchell accused SRL Boxing of going back on a promise to hold the fight; SRL Boxing claimed that Mitchell lied and broke the contract.

A jury in California believed SRL Boxing and awarded the company $443,315.

In a written statement, Leonard, chairman of the company, said he felt vindicated. "I hope that people now understand why my company was unable to bring our event to Myrtle Beach."

Mitchell was indicted in August 2001 on charges that he fixed matches in Nevada. He is awaiting trial and could not be contacted for this report.

Two local residents, John Reyelt and Woody Crosby, lobbied city officials for the contribution. They convinced the city that the televised match would draw national attention to Myrtle Beach.

After waiting six months for a refund, the city sued Reyelt, Crosby, Mitchell and SRL Boxing. That suit has not yet gone to court.

Now that a jury has decided a separate lawsuit in SRL Boxing's favor, the company's president, Bjorn Rebney, said he hopes the city will remove SRL Boxing from its suit. He said he was offended by the city's suit.

"We knew that Bobby Mitchell was lying," Rebney said. "We knew he did wrong by us and wrong by the city. ... I would assume that the city will in short order eliminate our name [from the suit]."

Reyelt maintains he and Crosby had no idea of the dispute between Mitchell and SRL Boxing and worked in good faith to bring the match to Myrtle Beach. Reyelt also is a member of the city's Downtown Redevelopment Corp.

"If there's one thing I've learned from this whole mess, it's that the corruption in the boxing industry is just bizarre," Reyelt said. "All I can say is it just stinks."

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