Judge Throws Out Suit Involving Member of Boxer’s Entourage

A Philadelphia judge has thrown out of court a lawsuit brought by a former member of prizefighter Bernard Hopkins’s entourage who claimed he was not given his due share of the $14 million purse “The Executioner” won in a September 2004 bout with middleweight rival Oscar de la Hoya

Judge Mark I. Bernstein of the city court system’s Commerce Case Management Program granted a defense motion for summary judgment in Williams v. Hopkins.

Beginning in 2002, according to Bernstein’s opinion in the case, Vernon Williams was paid $500 per week to handle Hopkins’ gym equipment, assist with his training and helped with his security detail.

But Williams said Hopkins orally agreed to give him a “reasonable percentage” of the de la Hoya fight’s purse, according to the opinion.

Less than a month prior to the Las Vegas-based de la Hoya bout, Williams was fired by Hopkins “following an altercation at a press conference,” Bernstein wrote.

Hopkins, a Germantown native, went on to beat de la Hoya; he told reporters afterwards that his knockout punch to the right side of de la Hoya’s abdomen had resulted in “chopped liver with Hopkins sauce.”

A few months after that fight, according to Bernstein’s opinion, the Hopkins camp paid Williams $5,000 — .035 percent of the de la Hoya fight purse.

Bernstein found that that sum had not been unreasonable based on the limited amount of work Williams did with respect to the de la Hoya bout.

Hopkins’s attorney in the case, Arnold Joseph of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, said his client was pleased with the judge’s ruling.

“Mr. Hopkins knows that he’s always been the target of overzealous people,” Joseph said.

Joseph added that Commerce Court was the perfect case management program for Williams, as Philadelphia’s regular civil trial courts are, in his opinion, reticent to grant summary judgment motions in heavily contested cases.

Williams’ lawyer, Pasquale Colavita, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
–Asher Hawkins, Staff Reporter

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