Coming off of his first career loss, boxer and St. Louis native Ryan Coyne received some very important news yesterday morning.
"Silver lining," he wrote in an e-mail to Daily RFT. "In this tough situation the nightmare ends."
After many months (arguably years) of dispute, including a lawsuit and countersuit, Coyne's former promoter, the legendary Don King, has thrown in the towel on his relationship with the Irish Outlaw.
See also: -Don King's Final Round -Video: St. Louis Boxer Ryan Coyne On His Lawsuit With the Legendary Don King -St. Louis Boxer Ryan Coyne Set to Fight April 12 -Ryan "Irish Outlaw" Coyne Loses Fight in Las Vegas; Takes Home Nasty Cut [PHOTOS]
Readers of our March 14 cover story "Don King's Final Round" will recall that Coyne first signed a promotional contract with Don King Productions in September 2009. After a couple good years of winning and moving up the ranks, Coyne says he stopped hearing from King or his employees and stopped being offered fights. When his original three-year contract expired in September 2012, Coyne was able to secure a world title fight against Nathan Cleverly for November. King filed for an emergency injunction to stop the fight, arguing that Coyne's contract was still valid. The fight was scuttled, King sued Coyne, Coyne sued King back.
Friday, April 12, marked a momentary reprieve from the war of words and wills when Coyne finally fought on a Don King card against Marcus Oliveira in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Coyne lost by technical knockout in the 11th round.
Yesterday, back in St. Louis and recovering with a faceful of stitches, Coyne was forwarded this e-mail from his attorneys (emphasis ours):
Sent: 4/16/2013 11:46:56 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: DKP v. Coyne
In accordance with our recent discussions, this email shall confirm that pursuant to your client's request, our client, Don King Productions, Inc. ("DKP"), hereby releases Ryan Coyne ("Coyne") from any and all obligations owed under the Promotional Agreement dated and entered into by and between DKP and Coyne on September 17, 2009.
Upon the filing and entry of a Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice, dismissing all claims and counterclaims in the matter Don King Productions, Inc. v. Ryan Coyne, (SDNY 12 Civ. 7890 (JPO)), the Promotional Agreement will no longer be in effect.
Don King Productions, Inc., and Don King wish Ryan Coyne and his family all the best in his future endeavors.
Andrew B. Zinman
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
We caught up with Coyne late yesterday afternoon to get his reaction and a sense of where he goes from here, now that he is -- in everyone's eyes -- a free agent. "This issue with King, it wouldn't go away. It was just lingering, it just got worse. Even when you have it out of mind, it really wasn't," says Coyne. "Now that it's done, it's so relieving."
Still, we couldn't help but notice that he didn't seem...happy, given the burning desire he'd always expressed to be free of Don King.
"He just wanted to damage me career-wise, he was able to do so," says Coyne.
Coyne believes "without question" King offered him the Oliveira fight intending for Coyne to lose (he said as much pre-fight as well), and only now that that prophecy came true is he giving Coyne his freedom. Regardless of whether that's true, the soured relationship with King clearly affected the way Coyne approached the Oliveira fight -- he told us earlier this week that he had little faith in winning by a judges' decision and was "taking some big chances that I normally wouldn't as I didn't want King to screw me on a crooked decision."
There's also a bit of dismay, he says, from not "winning" this outcome -- not getting to tell his story in court or have some other higher legal authority agree with his argument, that he was coerced into signing with DKP in the first place and that his fight with Cleverly was stolen from him unjustly.
"I didn't win my freedom; I lost my freedom," he says.
Then again, Coyne reasons, what would winning against Oliveira have meant?
"In the overall scheme of things, getting away from King was the most important thing. Getting away from him is worth ten losses," he says. "If I had won this fight he would still be lingering in the shadows."
For now, Coyne says, he's going to step back from boxing for a little while and recuperate here at home.
"I won't be away too long," he promises. "I'm going to get back into it, and I'm going to do it right this time...this has really been a life experience."
Alan Hopper, DKP's vice president of public relations, says both King and his VP Dana Jamison are currently in Moscow announcing a fight, and are unavailable for comment.