In an attempt to obtain promotional rights for a mega-fight between super bantamweight champions Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire, Golden Boy Promotions offered rival promoter Top Rank $3 million for Donaire's services to be split however Top Rank chairman Bob Arum desired. A formal written letter was issued on Friday that outlined some broad strokes, including concessions on banner display, announcements and library rights. Guillermo Rigondeaux, holder of the WBA version of the super bantamweight title, had been pining for a unification bout with the Filipino star for several months and expressed concern on Friday that the Mares offer would derail those plans. It is quite likely that Golden Boy's offer may have in fact solidified the long awaited fight between Donaire and Rigondeaux instead.
Although WBO king and 2012 'Fighter of the Year' Donaire (31-1, 20 KO's) was quite active last year, fighting four times and further cementing his standing as one of boxing's top pound-for-pound fighters, he has been criticized for not facing the other reigning world champions in the division. Given the ongoing feud between Donaire promoter Top Rank and Golden Boy who promotes WBC champion Mares, a unification bout with Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO's), another Top Rank promoted fighter, seemed to be a logical choice since it could more easily be made.
Yet, Arum did not seem too anxious to put his superstar Donaire into the ring with the extremely slick two-time Olympic gold medalist and, instead, gave us fights with little known Jeffrey Mathebula and washed up former champions Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce. The two losses suffered by Manny Pacquiao last year, Top Rank's other Filipino star, might have caused Arum to proceed even more cautiously with respect to Donaire, unwilling to gamble with his fighter's future revenue generating capability.
Not surprisingly, Top Rank rejected the Golden Boy offer. In a report by MaxBoxing.com's Steve Kim, reasons for this include the date of the fight and network (Top Rank claims to have a commitment with HBO for April 13). Following the massive move taken by Golden Boy to make one of boxing's biggest fights, the pressure is now on Top Rank to deliver a bout that carries at least an equivalent degree of value. The only other fight that rises to that level is with Rigondeaux, considered by many experts to be one of the best fighters in the history of amateur boxing.
With all ears and eyes now on Top Rank, there is no more room for Arum to stall for time. BoxingScene.com is reporting that Donaire – Rigondeaux is close to done for April 13. It's not the fight that Golden Boy wanted, but we may have them to thank for finally making it happen if it does.
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