Posts Tagged ‘Nonito Donaire’

Guillermo Rigondeaux decisively wins bantamweight title over Nonito Donaire

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Guillermo Rigondeaux took the WBO and WBA bantamweight titles with a 12-round unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Guillermo Rigondeaux took the WBO and WBA bantamweight titles with a 12-round unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Guillermo Rigondeaux’s unanimous decision win over Nonito Donaire:

This one was for the purists

Let’s make one thing clear: Rigondeaux is a fantastic boxer. The decorated amateur, a two-time World and Olympic champion, is technically brilliant with blurring speed and pinpoint counterpunching. He built an early lead against Donaire, wobbling him in the first round and surviving a ninth-round knockdown to win a decision on all three cards, 114-113, 115-112, 116-111. But after promising to engage before the fight, Rigondeaux hit and ran, dancing around the ring, drawing the ire of a sold-out crowd of 6,145 at Radio City Music Hall and giving Donaire—who wasn’t connecting on much of anything, either—time to one-punch his way back into the fight.

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  • Published On Apr 14, 2013
  • Nonito Donaire fight is Guillermo Rigondeaux’s chance to break through

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    Nonito Donaire (left) and Guillermo Rigondeaux size each other up ahead of their April 13 fight. (AP)

    Nonito Donaire (left) and Guillermo Rigondeaux size each other up ahead of their April 13 fight. (AP)

    NEW YORK — Sporting a red sweatsuit and a toothy smile, and with a palpable confidence that seemed to radiate from him, Guillermo Rigondeaux paraded around the lobby of the Theatre at Madison Square Garden Wednesday like a man who had already won. He walked up to his promoter, Bob Arum, who also promotes Nonito Donaire, the man Rigondeaux will face Saturday night in a super bantamweight unification fight at Radio City Music Hall (HBO, 11 p.m.) and a fighter Arum has significantly more invested in and said, “You better have a Plan B.” Later, he glad-handed an HBO executive and declared, “Next time, you owe me some money.”

    Saturday night is a big opportunity for Rigondeaux (11-0), a man with a sparkling résumé — two Olympic gold medals, two World Championship titles and a full-fledged world champion in just his ninth pro fight — but perhaps more anonymity than any top fighter in the sport. A language barrier — Rigondeaux speaks Spanish — a dull style and the fact that most of his greatest achievements came while fighting for Cuba contributes to that.

    “Obviously,” Rigondeaux said, “the public does not respect me because of the number of [professional] fights I have had.”

    Beating Donaire — SI.com’s 2012 Fighter of the Year and one of the top pound for pound fighters in boxing — would go a long way towards gaining that respect. Donaire is Top Rank’s Golden Boy, an HBO staple with a bright — and lucrative — future.

    For Rigondeaux, a win would put him in the same conversation Donaire is in.

    “The amateur accomplishments that I have had, I want to repeat on a professional level,” Rigondeaux said. “Beating Nonito would be beating the best in the division. I have great respect for Nonito and I think he is a great fighter. Beating him would be a great accomplishment in itself. He can stop talking about me as an amateur.”

    “It would be a huge accomplishment to add to my amateur accomplishments. A victory over Nonito would show the world that I can compete against the best in the world in a professional capacity.”

    Donaire has a reputation as an action fighter, willing to absorb some punches to get his opponent to engage. That philosophy has significantly increased Donaire’s popularity. Despite some questioning his chin — Rigondeaux has been knocked down and wobbled in recent fights — Rigondeaux says he intends to stand in with Donaire on Saturday.

    “In this fight I will try to engage more than I have in the past,” Rigondeaux said. “I want to give the fans what they want to see. Nonito is an aggressive boxer and I will be coming for him. I expect the same from Nonito. He is a great boxer and a great technician. I think there are going to be a lot of fireworks.”

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Apr 11, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Donaire-Mares bout in limbo, Gamboa to escape punishment

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    Nonito Donaire

    Golden Boy Promotions is trying to get Nonito Donaire (above) and Abner Mares in the ring together. (AP)

    Golden Boy Promotions ratcheted up its pursuit of a fight between super bantamweights Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares this week, submitting a contract to an attorney for Top Rank, which promotes Donaire, for a guaranteed $3 million purse for the fight. That money — however it is split between Donaire, Top Rank and manager Cameron Dunkin — would be a record purse for Donaire. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. I’m told Top Rank has no interest in the offer. It prefers Donaire fight in April, on HBO; the contract gives Golden Boy the ability to hold the fight as late as June 30. It also states that should the fight need to be postponed, Golden Boy has the right to reschedule it within 90 days or cancel it outright, provisions Top Rank isn’t willing to live with.

    Instead, Top Rank plans to move ahead with an April 13 date for Donaire and match him against either super bantamweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux or former bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan.

    Personally, I think this is all pretty stupid. If scheduling is the biggest issue — and forget the network issue, if Golden Boy is putting up close to $5 million between Donaire and Mares, it’s a safe bet it winds up on HBO — then shame on the promoters for not finding a common ground. And according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, it’s not. Schaefer told me on Wednesday that he has “all the flexibility in the world” when it comes to changing the date and that he personally sent an email to HBO letting network executives know he had no intention of squeezing them out, that he would take the best financial offer for the fight, regardless of the network.

    “What usually happens when you get a $3 million offer is you come back with comments,” Schaefer said. “If we can do this or that, we have a deal. But it just doesn’t seem like they want the fight. I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to keep pursuing until [Top Rank] announces something. Then, I’ll move on.”

    • One of the names published in a scathing Miami New Times report  connecting athletes to a company that allegedly provided steroids and other performance enhancing drugs was that of Yuri Gamboa, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and current super featherweight contender. But while Major League Baseball investigates the players who were named in the report, Gamboa has nothing to worry about. That’s because boxing — with one of the worst drug testing systems of any major sport — will not retroactively punish a fighter, nor will it do any kind of investigation. In fact, if Gamboa, who tested clean after his December fight in Nevada, has been using something, there is little incentive for him to stop. Clearly, the arcane testing by state athletic commissions isn’t catching him.

    • Brian Kenny has been a superb addition to Showtime’s broadcasts. Kenny is a pro’s pro, a skilled interviewer and an excellent host.

    • Heavyweight contender Tyson Fury is close to a deal that will match him with former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham on April 20 at Madison Square Garden. The fight will be an afternoon show broadcast nationally on NBC. Cunningham’s wife and manager, Livvy, told me that while they do not have an official offer — and though they prefer a fight with Alexander Povetkin — they were interested in a Fury fight. Cunningham, of course, is coming off a controversial loss to Tomasz Adamek in December.

    • One of the names I’m hearing for the Cunningham-Fury undercard is Curtis Stevens, who is coming off a spectacular first round knockout of journeyman Elvin Ayala last month.

    • Boxing Scene has an interesting post detailing how the WBA and former middleweight champion Felix Sturm colluded to avoid forcing Sturm to defend his title against Gennady Golovkin.

    • Last week, heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings told SI.com he was out of a proposed March 9 date on NBC Sports Network. Jennings said the money he was being offered was the same as what he made last January, when he made his television debut. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva denied that the offer was the same, telling me that it was, in fact, double what Jennings made in his first fight.

    • Can Sergey Kovalev fight again soon? Please?

    • I can understand Zab Judah’s frustration with the postponement of his Feb. 9 fight against Danny Garcia, but accusing Garcia of faking an injury is just dumb. Injuries during training happen, unfortunately, and Judah himself has experienced them: In 2008, Judah fell in a bathroom, a fall that opened a gash on his arm and forced the cancellation of a fight against Shane Mosley. Garcia-Judah has been rescheduled for April 27.

    • Lucas Matthysse’s spectacular first round knockout of an overmatched Mike Dallas Jr. will only enhance his reputation as the most feared fighter in boxing. While Matthysse wants a fight with Danny Garcia, expect Showtime to try to lure him back into the ring quickly, possibly as early as March.

    • Paging Vernon Paris.

    • Johnathan Banks wasn’t too excited when Seth Mitchell exercised the immediate rematch clause in his contract following Banks’s knockout win over him in November. Banks wanted to take an interim bout, preferably against Alexander Povetkin, before facing Mitchell again. But at a recent public workout, Banks sounded like a fighter who has found motivation.

    “Mitchell has contradicted himself,” Banks said. “Right after the fight he was very humble, gave me respect for the win and said he was going to have to go back to the drawing board, work his way back to the position he was in. Now I hear him saying things like ‘I didn’t win the fight or knock him out because I was the better man that night,’ and that it was his mistakes that were the cause of the loss. I find that to be out of character for this guy who seemed to be humble and respectful of me as a fighter prior to the first fight. When I lost to [Tomasz] Adamek as a cruiserweight, I lost. I can see [Mitchell] coming for the knockout this time. He says he is going to be different this time. I believe he will be.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jan 30, 2013
  • Podcast: Amir Khan, Nonito Donaire look ahead to weekend fights, look back at Pacquiao-Marquez IV

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    Sports Illustrated staff writer Chris Mannix looks back at Juan Manuel Marquez’s devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao last weekend at the MGM Grand, then speaks with Amir Khan and Nonito Donaire ahead of their fights this weekend.

    Click here to listen:


  • Published On Dec 14, 2012
  • Nonito Donaire-Abner Mares set to be latest casualty of boxing’s costly promotional cold war

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    Nonito Donaire, currently No. 4 in SI.com's pound-for-pound ratings, is the logical opponent for Abner Mares -- but can the fight ever get made? (AP)

    Nonito Donaire, currently No. 4 in SI.com’s pound-for-pound ratings, is the logical opponent for Abner Mares — but can the fight ever get made? (AP)

    LAS VEGAS — One of the biggest potential fights in 2013 — no, not Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, sorry — is a super bantamweight showdown between Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares, who for the last two years have been steamrolling through the 118- and 122-pound divisions.

    The problem with making Donaire-Mares? The usual: Top Rank (which promotes Donaire) and Golden Boy (which promotes Mares) don’t get along.

    Top Rank’s Bob Arum’s solution is simple: Let us do the fight, and get out of the way.

    “They can have input into the promotion,” Arum said. “We wouldn’t look to put the fight in Manila. We would give them the ability to veto a site. And they could participate in the rules meeting. But they can’t run the business. We have built Donaire up. We have put an effort into it. We have companies that have committed to Donaire like Tecate, TV Azteca, HBO. If we are talking just about money, I’m sure we can come to a solution.”

    That idea, as expected, doesn’t sit well with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.

    “The first thing is Bob should not be disrespectful,” Schaefer said. “Just because he has been [promoting] for so long, he doesn’t have that right. You need to approach this in a professional way. The silly notion of just paying [us] money and then they do it, why should we be disrespected like that?”

    “I think it’s important to maximize the money for the fighters. They deserve it. I do think there are some issues that I acknowledge, Bob is right. HBO invested a lot of money in Donaire and it’s not right for HBO to not have a big Donaire fight. But Mares was built by Showtime. All of his big fights were there. They invested substantially more than HBO did in Donaire, so it’s not really right for Showtime not to have the fight either.”

    Schaefer’s solution: Have both sides put an offer in an envelope, and the side with the biggest offer gets to promote the fight.

    “Let’s say both sides agree on a split,” Schaefer said. “Let’s say for argument’s sake it’s 50-50. Then let Arum go to the people he works with, TV Azteca, Tecate, HBO, the Filipino TV, go and talk to them and get their best offer. I’m going to do the same with Corona, with Showtime, with Televisa in Mexico and let’s see who can get more money? He puts his number in a sealed envelope, I put mine in a sealed envelope and whoever has the bigger number wins. My side can’t blame me, and Bob’s side can’t blame him.”

    “That doesn’t mean whoever has the smaller number doesn’t get their logo or their tickets or their press conference. This is not about disrespecting one another. If you want to really get it done, you have to do what is fair.”

    In an interview with SI.com, Arum didn’t sound the least bit interested, particularly when it came to doing a deal with Showtime, which has had a frosty relationship with Top Rank since Stephen Espinoza, an attorney who worked closely with Golden Boy, took over as the head of sports programming.

    “If that’s the case, the fight can’t happen,” Arum said. “I’m not going to strain my loyalty [to sponsors and networks] for a fight that doesn’t mean that much to me. Donaire can fight anyone. I pay him three times what Mares makes. I get $6 million per year from Tecate. Am I going to jeopardize it for a f—ing Donaire-Mares fight?”

    “Understand, the people who support us don’t want to hear about these kind of nuances. Donaire delivers for them. Would he fight Mares? Absolutely. But Mares doesn’t move the needle for us at all. We would fight him, but not to jeopardize our business. And why would I deliver any fight to Showtime that’s run by a guy who worked for Golden Boy, who won’t take our calls, who tries to humiliate us and does business only with one promoter? Why would I give him any kind of strength. This guy [Espinoza] is a bad guy. I don’t mind saying it to anybody. He is a bad, bad guy.”

    In an email to SI.com, Espinoza expressed a strong interest in being a part of a Mares-Donaire fight.

    “Mares vs. Donaire is a very attractive fight, and I’ve already made it clear that Showtime would bid very aggressively for that fight,” Espinoza said. “I am sure that Bob and Golden Boy will want to make sure that they generate the most money for their respective fighters and will not let anything as petty as personal feelings get in the way. Anything less would be a disservice to the sport, and more importantly, to the fighters.

    “It’s ironic that Bob would say that I don’t take his calls. I’ve been at Showtime for just over a year, and I have not received a single phone call from Bob Arum during that time. With respect to his comments about me personally, they don’t even merit a response, other than to say that I have never left any real offer from Top Rank, or anyone else, without a reply. Bob knows that. And given Bob’s track record and reputation, being called a “bad guy” by him is a badge of honor.

    “I am judged by the quality of the programming I acquire. Showtime has been televising high profile, exciting and competitive fights all year, and I am confident our subscribers are very pleased with the quality of Showtime boxing this year. We welcome all dialogue and proposals from Top Rank and all other promoters that fit within our programming strategy.”

    With so many obstacles and neither side likely to relent, Donaire-Mares will likely suffer a familiar fate: Never happening.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Dec 06, 2012
  • Abner Mares’ popularity undermined by Golden Boy-Top Rank feud

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    Bantamweight titleholder Abner Mares, who is No. 13 on SI.com’s pound-for-pound list, returns to action Saturday on Showtime against Anselmo Moreno. (AP)

    The ongoing feud between Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Bob Arum’s Top Rank has stood in the way of countless potential fights. Prime examples include junior welterweights Lucas Matthysse and Brandon Rios, middleweights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Saul Alvarez and, most recently, super bantamweights Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire.

    On Saturday, Mares (24-0-1) will defend his WBC title against Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (10 p.m. ET, Showtime). And let’s be honest: Very few people care. It’s hard enough to get average fans interested in the 122-pound division, even harder when they know it’s not even the best fight they could be seeing.

    The best fight is Mares-Donaire, which would feature the two unquestioned top dogs in the super bantamweight division. Mares is slick and skilled, the winner of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament who has been picking off top opponents for the last two years. Donaire, who dominated Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka last month, blends power and speed better than anyone in the division.

    On a recent conference call, Mares expressed interest in making a Donaire fight.

    “All I can say is Nonito, he’s a great fighter,” Mares said. “He’s really, really explosive, a really great fighter. His last performance against Nishioka, I mean the fight was a little bit, you could say boring at the beginning but being that Nishioka wasn’t throwing that much, he wasn’t giving that much. Nonito found a way and took his time and got that knockout. He looked good.

    “If I were to fight him, obviously I’d fight him different and it would be a great fight. I know and I’ve seen that people want that fight. They’ve been asking for that fight and they know that I could give them a hell of a fight and definitely beat him as well. But again, that’s in the future, first things first.”

    There are no reasonable excuses for not making Mares-Donaire. Both fighters are experienced champions who are ready for the best fight out there. Both are marketable to networks — Mares to Showtime, Donaire to HBO — and both have developed a following over the last two years.

    The only excuse is that representatives from Golden Boy and Top Rank don’t want to be in the same room together. And that’s not good enough. Because only the diehards will watch Mares-Moreno, just like only the diehards watched Donaire-Nishioka.

    You want to build an audience, give them something worth watching.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Nov 07, 2012


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