Now that Nonito Donaire is signed, sealed and reunited with Top Rank, company president Todd duBoef said it’s time for the native of the Philippines to continue his quest to climb the ranks of the world’s best fighters.
Donaire had bolted from Top Rank and signed with rival Golden Boy Promotions, after which an independent arbiter ruled that the fighter was bound to Top Rank.
The 28-year-old San Leandro, Calif., resident last fought on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, scoring a sensational one-punch second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel.
"We're so happy to be unified again, said duBoef, who worked out the new deal with Donaire. “We're happy to be working with Nonito again, and we're happy to be in position to develop him both inside and out of the ring.
"We think that he's one of the premiere fighters in the world. Nonito's marketability is obviously the next thing that we're going to tackle. We'll start by getting him more exposure and creating more opportunities for him."
Donaire’s knockout of Montiel was his 25th consecutive victory and 10th KO in his past 12 fights.
His performance drew praise from former pound-for-pound king and ringside commentator Roy Jones, who compared Donaire favorably with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"Nonito was always targeted to be a big star for us, and somebody that we felt we could build into a big business," said duBoef. "After his performance against Montiel, we saw it, believed in it, and then Nonito said that this was just the beginning."
Donaire’s momentum hit a wall in March with his decision to leave Top Rank, largely because he felt as if he was an afterthought to Top Rank-promoted Pacquiao. Name calling between Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum and Donaire’s wife, Rachel, didn’t help.
So later that month, Donaire signed with Golden Boy and ignited a legal battle, which more or less ended when retired judge Daniel Weinstein ruled that Donaire’s contract with Top Rank remained valid.
Donaire, his wife and his manager, Cameron Dunkin, could not be reached for comment.
"I think that it was essentially Todd and Cameron and Rachel who got it done, pretty much,” Arum said. “I was pretty much out of it. The kid is going to be a major superstar, and we're glad that he's back with Top Rank.
“So now we're going to bust our backs toward developing Nonito into the superstar that we know that he can be."
Boxingscene.com broke the news of Donaire’s reconciliation with Top Rank.
"We have reached a new respect for each other and are moving forward together,” the fighter told the Web site. “There were a lot of things that have been said that have put a strain in the relationship. But both parties have agreed to open the lines of communication and wipe the slate clean.
"Both parties have agreed to drop our cases … and we are going ahead to work together. I'm excited to move on with my career."
Rachel Donaire shed more light on the couple’s reconciliation with Arum during a July 18 interview with Boxingscene.
"We had already started talking with Top Rank again about what we felt were the problems,” she told the Web site. “They came with a solution to the problems, but of course, it took time to come to an agreement on the issues. It took about a month for us to settle our differences. He [Arum] apologized. I’ll forgive someone if they really mean that they’re sorry. I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge unless he did it purposely to hurt me, and here it was just business.
“I didn’t look at it any way other than business. He’s been in it for so long so he must have taken it personally instead of something they had overlooked we were unhappy with in the deal."
Nonito Donaire would like to return to the ring in October, prior to the couple's November wedding in Manila.
"We are looking at the fall," said duBoef, who doesn’t know yet which of the major networks – HBO or Showtime – will broadcast Donaire’s next fight.
"We are in discussions with HBO and Showtime," said duBoef. "Until our deal is completed, I couldn't discuss with the media our platform and whether it will be with either HBO or Showtime. But I have had preliminary discussions, and we are targeting Nonito for the fall."
Among those they are targeting are the winner of Aug. 13 clash between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares, which will determine the champion of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament.
In addition, there is the WBA bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno of Panama, who is coming off of last month's eighth-round stoppage of Lorenzo.