Breakout prospect Cruz files lawsuit against New Champions Promotions citing violation of Ali Act

Former Olympic champion and one of the breakout stars of 2023, Andy Cruz (2-0, 1KO), had a stellar year. 

However, his 2024 will likely lead to more meaningful battles inside the courtroom rather than inside the ring as he’s taken legal action against his co-promoters New Champion Promotions (NCP) and the president of NCP, Jesse Rodriguez.

Cruz and his legal team filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint cites Violation of the Ali Act, amongst other violations of business codes, and breach of contract. 

Cruz is seeking a jury trial and damages of $100,000. Though Matchroom is named as a defendant, at no point is it reported that Matchroom or its subsidiaries are accused of any wrongdoing.

The official court document, which was first acquired by Boxing Scene, lists 25 defendants currently in the case between Cruz and NCP.

Cruz is accusing Rodriguez of signing him under false pretenses, believing that Rodriguez and NCP would be the sole promoters of him.

Instead, NCP offered Cruz to Matchroom Boxing on a co-promotional basis. Cruz signed with NCP in November of last year following his defection from Cuba before signing with Matchroom in May 2023.

Cruz began his professional career in July against Juan Carlos Burgos (35-8-3, 21KOs) over 10 rounds in Detroit, Michigan, featuring on the Alycia Baumgardner-Christina Linardartou bill. 

Cruz's second appearance came earlier this month on the same bill as Devin Haney's successful super-lightweight title challenge against Regis Prograis in San Francisco, California. Cruz scored a third-round stoppage victory over Jovanni Straffon (26-6-1, 19KOs).

The lawsuit submitted by Cruz to the courts claims that Matchroom Boxing have paid $500,000 in fight purses and a signing fee to Cruz, which Cruz claims NCP and Rodriguez have pocketed over $100,000. 

Cruz and his legal counsel claim that NCP states that they are entitled to 25% of Cruz's earnings, but upon further inspection of the agreement between NCP and Cruz, Cruz's legal team claims that no language of the apparent term exists.

Cruz further claims that he has not been paid in full for his debut contest against Burgos in July, with NCP withholding his purse till October after NCP received payment from Matchroom to distribute to Cruz accordingly. 

Cruz reportedly instructed Matchroom to pay him directly for his bout against Jovanni Straffon in December instead of handing money to NCP to prevent this from repeating. NCP would claim that Cruz "was not a party to the Boxing Promotional Agreement, that Cruz was not legally entitled to communicate with Matchroom and that Matchroom was required to pay Cruz's purse to NCP."

Matchroom would ultimately pay both parties equally 50/50; however, Cruz alleges that NCP has retained a total of 25% of the monies paid in total, which Cruz and his legal team argue is acting in line as a manager and not as a co-promoter/promoter.

Lawyer Gregory Smith, who is representing Cruz legally, believes that NCP meets the threshold in acting as a manager and is in breach of Californian law and calls for the agreement between Cruz and NCP to be made void.

"NCP is claiming the right to 25% of the money Matchroom pays Cruz for his signing bonuses and purses," stated Smith. "Thus, NCP meets the statutory definition of "manager" under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 18628. NCP is not a licensed boxing manager per California law, rendering the Boxing Promotional Agreement illegal and void as to NCP.

"Further, Cruz is entitled to a judicial determination that he is free of any promotional ties and contractual obligations to NCP that might have existed under the Boxing Promotional Agreement."

At no point is it reported that Matchroom or its subsidiaries of Matchroom are accused of any wrongdoing.