Boxer Regains Title, Contract Dispute With Don King Remains



By Elaine Briseño 

Law360 (September 5, 2023, 8:58 PM EDT) — Former champion boxer Mahmoud Charr will get his title reinstated after reaching a settlement Tuesday with the World Boxing Association and its president, but will continue his court battle against co-defendant and legendary promoter Don King, whom he accused of orchestrating the loss of his championship belt.

The WBA, Gilbert Mendoza Jr. and Charr filed a joint settlement notice in Florida federal court, but it does not include Don King, Don King Productions Inc. and Epic Sports and Entertainment Inc. The settlement includes terms that would restore Charr’s WBA championship title and require him to defend that title in a new bout Oct. 14. Charr has agreed to dismiss the WBA and Mendoza from the lawsuit after the title defense match takes place, the notice said.

Alejandro Brito of Brito PLLC, King’s attorney, told Law360 the claims against his client are going forward and reiterated that Charr is still under contract with Don King Productions.

“He can participate in this fight,” Brito said. “But he still has to honor his contractual obligations to Don King Productions.”

Charr initially filed his lawsuit in August 2021 and filed an amended complaint a year later, adding the WBA and Mendoza, accusing them of teaming up with King to strip his title through nefarious means. He accused all the defendants of scheming to make it impossible for him to attend a fight to defend his title, causing him to forfeit. The goal, according to his lawsuit, was to strip him of the title so that King could line his own pockets.

In the WBA’s Jan. 5 motion to dismiss, it blamed Charr, a Syrian native who lives in Germany, for the canceled May 2019 fight that cost him his title, saying his failure to obtain a visa was the cause. Charr alleges that he repeatedly asked King for a copy of the signed bout contract so he could obtain a visa from German authorities, but the paperwork was never provided. Charr could have earned more than $1 million for the fight, according to his lawsuit.

The suit says King secured the promotional rights to Charr’s title defense match against another fighter he represented, Trevor Bryan, for $2 million. However, soon after realizing he wouldn’t profit off the deal, King began a campaign to keep Charr out of the ring, according to the lawsuit. The promoter allegedly refused to sign off on a “bout contract” finalizing the fight — or assist Charr with obtaining permission to enter the U.S.

Rather than sign standard WBA bout contracts that Charr sent him — papers the boxer needed to support a visa application — King allegedly left Charr with little choice but to sign an agreement that the promoter drew up himself. King also allegedly made false promises to pull strings with the administration of then-President Donald Trump to get Charr admitted despite Trump’s ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries.

Representatives for the WBA, Mendoza and Charr did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Charr is represented by Jared Lopez and Tazio Heller of Black Srebnick PA and Patrick English of Dines & English LLC.

King and Don King Productions are represented by Alejandro Brito of Brito PLLC.

The WBA is represented by Stacy Jaye Rodriguez of Actuate Law LLC and Robert E. Mack of Smith Alling PS.

Mendoza is represented by Joseph J. Portuondo.

The case is Charr v. King et al., case number 0:21-cv-61654, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

–Editing by Stephen Berg.