Most, if not all, pro boxers are faced with the prospect of seeking out a manager to arrange fights, make provisions for training, and secure staff to work the corner and deal with the State Boxing Commission. Once a manager has been secured, the next step is to formalize the relationship in a signed contract subject to the filing and licensing rules of the State Boxing Commission.
The standard contract between a boxer and his/her manager consists of a variety of elements. The first and perhaps most important element is the period of time of the contract. Two-to-three-year contracts are not uncommon in the industry. Some states may limit the contract term to three years.
During this time period, the manager agrees to pay the boxer an amount which may approximate 60-65% of the proceeds of a fight. The difference includes manager training fees, licensing, insurance, the cutman, hotel/motel and travel expenses to and from the fight venue. The boxer is required to faithfully execute the contract except in the event of extraordinary and uncontrollable circumstances.
During the pendency of the fight contract, the boxer agrees to utilize his/her talent as directed by the manager. This requirement is in place to prevent the boxer from utilizing the talent for backyard fights or local contests where the public bets on the outcome between fighters. In addition, the boxer agrees to attend training exercises and special intensive camp sessions.
Boxers under contract usually develop a style and reputation which makes them a unique drawing card. Therefore, the contract generally does not seek to control the boxer’s style or manner of competing. Usually, boxers are considered to be independent contractors.
In return for the boxer’s personal services, the manager agrees to provide best efforts to secure events and competitions consistent with the boxer’s level of achievement. In practice, this means that an entry level pro boxer should not be scheduled for a 12-round fight in a pro debut. Both the boxer and the manager agree not to sell or assign any portion of the contract.
Once a contract is signed and filed with the State Boxing Commission, the parties are bound. In anticipation of the signing, each party should seek the services of an experienced boxing attorney to read the contract and explain the rights, duties, obligations, and recourse for each party.
The circumstances for canceling the contract should be set forth clearly due to a number of factors, including impossibility of performance or delays in performance. In addition, the boxing contract may state the manner of settling disputes either within a specific court venue, by forced arbitration, the use of the State Boxing Commission or some other method mutually agreed to by the parties.
Lastly, boxers who are United States citizens over the age of 18 should have completed their registration with the Selective Service System.