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Gaines gives WBAN a Bird's Eye View of the frustration of negotiating fights
by Sue TL Fox
February 20, 2013

(FEB 20) Just recently,  I met up with female boxing veteran Sharon Gaines, who fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada. She is just one of many boxers in this sport that "just" wants to fight---and with that said, to also be treated fairly in the sport.

Gaines is one of many female boxers who experience the frustration of getting fights, negotiating fights, and seeing fights fall through. She is among many others female boxers who experience even greater frustration when a fight has actually been negotiated, agreed upon, waiting for the contract---just to see the contract never arrive.

WBAN will share with our readers what Gaines has gone through recently in regards to trying to negotiate fights.

After Gaines fought Irma Sanchez, in August of 2012, Gaines said that she received a lot of pressure to fight a high-profile female boxer at 117-118 pounds. When she said that weight was too high at 117-118, she then felt pressured to fight at 115 lbs.

Gaines said that the high-profile boxer had not fought at that low of weight in years, so then the "fight offer" was made at 115 +1. Gaines said that even though it was one of the top female fighters in the sport---the purse and negotiated items were not worth her time. "I am comfortable at fighting at 112 or less weight---not 115 lbs.," added Gaines. Gaines said "no" to the fight.

Shortly thereafter---another potential "fight offer" came in. Gaines said that she got an offer to fight a world champion, with less than a two week notice,  and that she accepted the offer. Gaines said, "I was very excited about this fight, but then I was told that there was a 'mistake' in the purse amount that was originally offered."

Gaines told WBAN, "the purse was already lower than what I had wanted to fight for---which was not much at the beginning----but then they took the fight offer down $1,000 from the original agreed purse to fight a world champion----so I said no."

Which now brings us to the latest fight offer for Gaines...

Gaines received a "fight offer" to fight Keisher McLeod-Wells, of Brooklyn, New York, on February 21, 2013, in "New York". The person who was offering the fight to Gaines, said that the fight was  a six-rounder, at 112 lbs., $1500 purse, and two airline tickets. Gaines said that she would first check with her advisor.

Gaines then came back to the table with a "counter offer" of $2000 purse, three airline tickets, and eight rounds.  Gaines also stated that she offered to come in at either 110 or 112 lbs. According to Gaines, the counter offer on all three issues were turned down.

Gaines said after the counter offer was turned down---she stuck to what she wanted but then made a point to let them know that with her,  ALL of her medicals were done, from the MRI to blood work to eye exam.

Gaines said she later received a phone call with a counter offer, with they would pay $1500, three airline tickets, or $2000, two airline tickets, and that in "no way" would they go for an eight round bout because there was no room on the card for that.

Gaines said that she again stuck to what she wanted for the fight which was $2000, with three airline tickets but that she would go for the SIX rounds. But that THEN again....the offer was turned down, and she was told, that if she was not going to take what was offered, then not to waste "their" time.

Gaines told WBAN that she responded with, "Okay, I won't. You can look for someone else."

But folks....this is not the end to this on-going fight offer saga!

Gaines said a couple of days later she receives a phone call, and that she was offered the fight for $2,000 and three airline tickets, and that they had come to an agreement to pay that. Gaines was then asked, "Do we have a deal?" Gaines said she responded with, "yep! I'm in".

The person negotiating the fight with Gaines then proceeds to tell Gaines that she [Gaines] will need to call the Nevada Athletic Commission right away, and get her medicals sent over. Furthermore, Gaines was asked to provide the names, date of births of her and her two team members who were flying with her to New York. Gaines was told that that info was needed it as soon as possible. Gaines was also asked for an email address so that the contract could be sent to her on Monday, as the offices were closed over the weekend.

Gaines stated that she complied with what was requested of her, sending the personal information of all involved with the airline tickets, her email address, and said she was told the matchmaker that she would get her medicals sent on Monday.

Well....when Monday rolls around, Gaines keeps checking her email for the boxing contract---and no contract. [Have we NOT heard this countless times in this sport? Gaines is certainly not alone with the "contracts in the mail."]

Gaines said that on Monday, she checked her email several times just to NOT see any contract. She said that she ended up text messaging the matchmaker a few times---and then at about 9:00 p.m., she FINALLY sent a text saying, "what's up with the fight? I didn't received a contract today."

Gaines said that shortly thereafter she then got a phone call, and was told by the person negotiating the fight that they were so, so sorry, and that they got another boxer with a 0-3 record.

Gaines said that she had asked for the opponent's name and was texted the name "Nedel". Gaines said that she had also asked about the commission approving the fight with the 0-3 boxer, and received no answer.

But FOLKS...It DOES not end here!

Just as we were ready to publish this story....Gaines told WBAN, "
After my disappointment in not getting the fight against Keisher, I continued to train as I always do. We had set up sparring against taller opposition, as Keisher is 5'8", and we canceled that. Then on Friday Feb 8 (5 days later) I missed a call from the matchmaker and then received this text "Fights available the girl can't make weight." Text was sent at 1:00 p.m. PST."

"I went back to my original request of eight rounds. We had agreed upon six the week before when they ended up finding someone else, but now, with the fight being less than two weeks away (which would allow for only one more week of hard training) I wanted eight rounds."

"The monetary offer was increased and was very good for six rounds, but they did not agree to eight rounds. I was told that there was simply not enough room on the card for an eight rounder.. Due to the lack of time to prepare my team decided we did not want to risk me getting another close decision loss, a greater possibility in six rounds, and we said no to the fight. So, once again, I thought it was a done deal." 

"But many hours later on Friday Feb 8, I missed THREE calls from the person negotiating the fight and ended up with two texts' both reading "They said they will do 8 rnds for $3000."  

I was out to dinner and texted that after seeing my clients in the morning and consulting with my coaches, I would have an answer no later than noon or 1:00 the next day."  

"After talking to my coach and advisor we decided this was a good deal and felt in eight rounds I'd win. I texted the matchmaker with the news that we would accept the latest offer!"

"The person negotiating the fight responded "OK" and asked for the full names of my travelers going with me. Also said to go get my blood pregnancy test and have my meds sent over from the Nevada Commission. Our team went into action, set up sparring that very day with tall opposition and again on Monday. On Monday afternoon after training I got my blood pregnancy test (the only medical I don't have). I continued to text the person making this match,  throughout the day Monday and Tuesday Feb 11, 12. with No Response! " 

"Finally, sensing something was off, I received a call from the negotiator of the match,  late Tuesday, February 12th, with the following:"

'You won't believe this, you're going to kill me, but the New York Commission won't approve you for eight rounds against Keisher.'

"I was asked again if I'd go six. At this point, I had a bad feeling. I highly doubted that they New York Commission wouldn't approve us for eight rounds and regretfully I said no again to the offer for the six round bout. I love to fight and this was a hard decision, but in my own opinion the way this was handled was getting questionable."  

After doubting this info, based on my knowledge of the boxing background of McLeod, and other factors, my coach and I did contact the New York Commission on February 13th, and I was told that my name was never submitted to fight McLeod, not for a six-rounder or an eight round bout. In fact, they had never heard my name mentioned in regard to this fight. They were asked to approve a fight against two other mentioned female boxers, which one of those two names, Jacqueline Parker, a former amateur boxer, with a 1-0 record, fighting a four-rounder in her pro debut, is in fact McLeod's opponent on February 21. [This was verified through the New York Commission.]

Gaines concludes with the following: " As I said---I do not have a problem with McLeod, or her team or her promoter or whomever not wishing to go eight rounds with me, But one thing I do have a problem with is being misled in negotiating the fight."

[About Gaines: She has had 26 professional fights, with a 11-14-1 (3KO) record.  She has fought some of the best in this sport that includes, Ava Knight, Irma Sanchez, Carina Moreno, Hollie Dunaway, Alesia Graf, Cindy Serrano, and Frida Wallberg. She is a well-seasoned boxer, who has taken many fights in her opponent's backyard.]

WBAN Comments:  This story is not to put down any particular fighter, or negotiator (matchmaker) of fights---it is to demonstrate the frustration that not only what Sharon Gaines has gone through, but MANY female boxers in the sport. 


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