The next bout for an up-and-coming professional boxer from Amherst will be in a courtroom.
Two local fight promoters have sued Vincent Arroyo to stop him from traveling to Las Vegas to sign an agreement to box for another promoter.
Arroyo, a 24-year-old welterweight, earned national attention last September when he scored a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Hector Sanchez, a top prospect, in a fight televised on Showtime as part of the network's ShoBox series. Arroyo also garnered attention in April 2011 by defeating previously unbeaten Willie Nelson on Showtime.
The 5-foot, 9-inch boxer has a 12-1 record.
And now he's in demand, the local promoters say.
"He has become a very hot commodity after the Nelson and Sanchez fights," said Joseph G. Makowski, who is representing Richard S. Glaser and Henry Diaz, the two promoters.
Glaser and Diaz, both of Amherst, contend a deal Arroyo signed with Glaser in November 2006 remains in effect, according to court papers. Last year, Glaser sold the contract to Diaz, with Arroyo's consent, so now Diaz has the exclusive right to promote Arroyo's fights, according to their lawsuit.
Arroyo has turned down two fights since the Sept. 9 fight against Sanchez, his last fight, Diaz said in court papers.
Arroyo called Glaser earlier this month to tell him about his plans, Glaser said.
"During the course of our conversation, he told me that he was going to be traveling to Las Vegas the week of June 11, 2012, to sign a new promotional agreement and accept fights" under the new contract, Glaser said in an affidavit.
Glaser said he reminded Arroyo of the five-year deal he signed with him in November 2006. That deal's five-year clock began running when Arroyo boxed in December 2008, so the deal with Glaser runs through 2013, Makowski said.
"He told me he had no such agreement and was going to sign a new promotion agreement and fight under it," Glaser said.
With that, their call ended, Glaser said.
Arroyo could not be reached to comment.
"Mr. Arroyo's threat to sign with another promoter is both genuine and immediate," Glaser said in court papers. "Mr. Arroyo is now a known and respected fighter with a 12-1 record and is in demand for professional bouts."
State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Troutman issued a temporary restraining order last week preventing Arroyo from signing a new promotional deal and participating in a professional boxing match.
Both sides return to court next week.
Arroyo was not represented by a lawyer during his court appearance last week but told the court he intended to hire one.
Under the contract Arroyo signed with Glaser, Arroyo is to be paid at least $5,000 for boxing 10 rounds in a televised main event, with lesser amounts for shorter fights. A four-round fight would pay him at least $800.
Under the contract, if Arroyo challenges for a world championship or is rated in the top five by any "world sanction body," the agreement automatically extends by two years.
Glaser has the right to terminate the agreement if Arroyo loses a fight.
The contract with Arroyo, signed "when he was an unknown," specifies the minimums Arroyo is to be paid, Makowski said. He could earn more, "depending on the fight, depending on the purse," Makowski said.
"After the Nelson and Sanchez fights, his stock has risen, and it's a very valuable contract," Makowski said.
"The reason Arroyo is so important to Diaz is, frankly, his record and his last two wins have put him in demand," Makowski said.
Honoring the 2006 deal "would be good for Mr. Arroyo's career and lucrative in terms of the purse he would take," Makowski said.
"It's really to Mr. Arroyo's financial benefit to honor his agreement," he added. "At the end of the day, we're just seeking to enforce the contract which Mr. Arroyo entered into with Mr. Glaser."