On the surface, the accusations leveled against prominent boxing representative Sampson Lewkowicz seem substantive, but as the true story is told, as set forth below, it is nothing more than the story of a powerless third-world boxing commission being corrupted and influenced by a greedy television executive.
Earlier this week, the Panamanian Boxing Commission publicly declared Lewkowicz “Persona Non Grata” and stated that they “are prohibiting Mr. Lewkowicz (from having) any kind of relation or contact with this commission as well as with any Panamanian boxer since the relation will not be recognized” for a period of one (1) year, for what they say is allegedly threatening the management of WBA Bantamweight Champion Anselmo Moreno that their contract with Moreno would be terminated by the Commission for going against the interests of their represented boxer if they didn’t persuade the fighter to sign a promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions by April 5.
These alleged threats are supposedly contained in a letter Lewkowicz sent to Jacques DesChamps which is attached in its entirety herein.
But now that Lewkowicz is coming forward with what really happened, the reality of the circumstances that led to this situation paint a distinctly different picture – one of corrupt political pressure possibly being wielded over a vulnerable boxing commissioner.
The facts are as follows:
- Earlier this year, Lewkowicz travelled to Panama and made a deal with a TV network to do a series of fights there.
- The deal angered a powerful television executive in Panama, who has had a near-monopoly on televised boxing in that country for 36 years, because the deal was not with him.
- This disgruntled television executive fired off a letter to the rival television network and, in it, declared “this means war.”
- This same executive then began a campaign to sully the reputation of Mr. Lewkowicz.
- Because Sampson Lewkowicz has been doing business in boxing honorably for many years and, among other accomplishments, is credited with discovering Manny Pacquiao, and is currently guiding the careers of superstar Sergio Martinez and other fighters like WBA Featherweight Champion Chris John, Lewkowicz, through counsel, wrote a cease and desist letter to the greedy television executive demanding he stop making disparaging remarks about him.
- This executive holds tremendous influence in Panamanian boxing circles and potentially has the political power to have people fired or otherwise punished who cross him.
- The letter from Commission President Alberto Guerra declaring Lewkowicz undesirable was written shortly after Lewkowicz’s lawyer sent the cease and desist letter.
In the letter the commission refers to in their action, it is apparent Lewkowicz is trying to get as much money as possible for the boxer Anselmo Moreno and is extremely frustrated at Moreno’s management, Roberto Grimaldo and his advisor Jacques DesChamps, for failing to respond to the offer form Golden Boy (who Sampson was representing), letting a very lucrative deal for Moreno with Golden Boy Promotions go by.
As you can see from the letter set forth below, which the Panamanian Commission is relying on, there is nothing remotely resembling a threat contained in that letter. Sampson Lewkowicz only expresses concerns that letting a deal this lucrative for their fighter go by is not the right thing to do for Anselmo Moreno.
LETTER THE COMMISSION IS TRYING TO SANCTION LEWKOWICZ FOR:
Following the e-mail I sent you and Dr. Grimaldo on March 29th we are still without a answer and you have by passed all the deadlines that Golden Boy has given you.
If you want to make any changes regarding names or to add or remove any one Golden Boy Promotions will have no objections to this, however one more time I will tell you crystal clear that under the terms of this agreement Golden Boy Promotions will be the sole holder of the world wide broadcast rights for Anselmo Moreno and those rights are non negotiable in this particular contract.
I know that you are a extremely busy entrepreneur and maybe you don’t have the time to review and concentrate on what for you might be a small and insignificant contract, however for Anselmo Moreno it is very significant for his future and for the future of his family.
Hopefully you have a Plan B that will produce a better opportunity for Anselmo Moreno than the one worth US$1.2 Million Dollars because by Close of Bussiness Tuesday the 5th of April 2011 Golden Boy Promotions will withdraw their offer and then you must face your represented fighter and manager with another proposal that will be acceptable to both and face the consequences that loosing this opportunity will bring.
I have spoken several times with Panama Boxing Commissioner Mr. Alberto Guerra and I shared a few of my thoughts with him and one of those was if there are any laws on their books regarding managers that do not act in the best interest of their represented boxers and what are the consequences of the managers actions, maybe you should share some of your time with Mr. Guerra and find out for your self how managers can be penalized.
With that in mind I recommend that you act accordingly and take the deadline of April 5th 2011 @ 1700hrs. EST.
Mr. Lewkowicz says he understands the pressure being put on President Guerra, whether Guerra can admit it or not, and holds no ill will toward him. His biggest concern is the effect an action like this could have on his business dealings, which have always been handled with integrity and honesty while working with all the biggest names in the sport. Lewkowicz is also concerned when boxers aren’t properly handled by management.
“This suspension is absurd. How can you suspend me for a letter I wrote without asking me to comment about it? What they’re deciding I meant in that letter isn’t true. I work hard every day to get the most for the fighters I deal with. Letting a $1.2 million deal go by without even answering me, is an act of negligence on the part of a fighter’s manager. That was all I was trying to convey: that what they were doing was seriously bad for their fighter’s financial future.
Of course, I will probably not be able to prove what is really afoot here because people are afraid of losing their own jobs. However, I do want the boxing world to know the truth and know that I will continue to conduct my boxing business in the most honorable way and protect the fighters who make the sport of boxing what it is.”