Chris Algieri unhappy with purse split
The disappointment of Chris Algieri’s fifth-round technical knockout loss to top welterweight prospect Errol Spence on April 16 was compounded on Monday, he said, when he learned that his $325,000 purse reflected a 50-50 split of the money Premier Boxing Champions ostensibly paid Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia for Algieri’s participation in the bout.
Although Algieri and his attorney, Eric Melzer, signed for a specific purse number, the Greenlawn boxer aired his displeasure before the bout that DeGuardia declined to disclose to him from the beginning the full amount of the pot they were splitting. Under the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, the promoter must disclose those figures to a fighter in a bout scheduled to go at least 10 rounds before anyone gets paid. DeGuardia was within his rights to wait until this past Monday when checks were cut.
Algieri confirmed the accuracy of an ESPN report putting his purse at $325,000. “It was a 50-50 split,” Algieri said in a text message to Newsday. “A 50-50 split on paper. After my expenses, I’m making significantly less than [DeGuardia]. I have to pay my head trainer, my assistant trainer, my cutman, my attorney, my accountant, my camp coordinator, my sparring partners (weekly salary plus housing and food), my strength coach and my physical therapist.
“None of that includes all the other expenses I incur in training camp on a weekly basis. What expenses did he incur from this fight? He wasn’t the lead promoter. Did he have any expenses directly related to this particular fight? I spent nearly six figures on this fight alone. What did he spend?”
The future of the long-term relationship between Algieri and DeGuardia is uncertain. Algieri said his loss to Spence still hasn’t sunk in, and he needs to consult with his team to decide his next moves.
DeGuardia still hopes to get Algieri back into top-level fights. “When I spoke to him after the fight, it didn’t seem like anything was wrong,” DeGuardia said. “I consoled him on his loss.
“We’ve done a tremendous job with his career. You hope there would be appreciation for all we did. It’s disappointing that, in this regard, he’s been shortsighted.”
Citing confidentiality clauses in his agreements with Algieri and PBC, DeGuardia declined to comment on the amount of Algieri’s purse and the percentage split contained in his disclosure. He also expressed disappointment that Algieri went public with details of their dispute and defended the job he has done building the former kickboxer and getting him paid.
DeGuardia suggested Algieri was in breach of the confidentiality agreement to confirm the purse or discuss the percentage split, and he added, “He negotiated with me for three weeks [for the Spence fight] and had a lawyer negotiate with me and sign off on the deal. Then, he blusters about the Ali Act and disclosures.
“It was always a farce. It was just a way to try and renegotiate and get more money. It’s a sad thing. You would think somebody who has had a promoter who has enabled him to make as much money as he’s made over the past two years wouldn’t be doing these kinds of actions. They would be more appreciative of the opportunities he’s gotten.”
Algieri previously said he received 53 percent of the pot when he upset Ruslan Provodnikov for the WBO super-lightweight title and in losses to Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan that followed. According to Algieri, he agreed to only 30 percent of the purse for a win over Erick Bone last December to make it easier for DeGuardia to pay off the last of three options he owed to Art Pelullo of Banner Promotions for giving Algieri a shot at Provodnikov’s title nearly two years ago. Algieri believed that would result in him receiving a greater share of the Spence pot.
“With Banner out, the remaining amount all goes to Joe,” Algieri said. “I don’t get even a cent more?”
In Algieri’s view, a 50-50 split is below the norm. At this stage of his career, he believes at least a 70-30 is more fair.
DeGuardia said he offered Algieri a chance to extend his contract with Star Boxing in return for a set percentage of the pot for Spence and all future fights. So, Algieri’s complaint about not receiving a higher percentage of the pot, DeGuardia said, “has no bearing because he chose to negotiate a purse as opposed to a percentage split. That was his and his lawyer’s choice, not mine. Now, you want to come back and complain about it? That’s not right.”
Algieri contends DeGuardia should divulge the entire amount of the pot from the beginning of negotiations for all bouts. “It was my understanding that by taking the Bone fight and getting rid of Banner Promotions, all future bouts would be negotiated openly,” Algieri said. “Without me, he doesn’t make a dollar. So, yes, I think it’s totally in my right to know what he’s making off my fight, off of me stepping in the ring and risking my life . . . Isn’t that exactly the point of the Muhammad Ali Act?”
DeGuardia expressly disagreed with Algieri’s interpretation of the Ali Act. “The reason the act was put in to disclose (all money a promoter receives for a particular fight) is so that the fighter ends up being able to get power after the fight to be able to negotiate his next fight knowing what revenues came in from the fight before,” DeGuardia said.
The promoter said Algieri doesn’t understand the value of six years of effort and investment by Star Boxing to develop his career. DeGuardia cited expenses to maintain his organization and travel to conventions run by boxing’s sanctioning bodies to get his fighter rated. He said Algieri never would have gotten the title shot against Provodnikov if not for DeGuardia’s relationship with Pelullo.
“It doesn’t happen by magic,” DeGuardia said. “Nobody cared about Chris Algieri when he was developing. He knocked on everybody’s door. The only one that opened the door for him was me.
“I’m very comfortable with the fact that Chris Algieri has made a tremendously fair amount of money for the fights he’s been fighting.”