On Friday afternoon, Golden Boy Promotions issued a contract offering rival Top Rank $3 million for the services of RING junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire, one which already had secured WBC counterpart Abner Mares for a potential match on April 13.
The 13-page offer, obtained by RingTV.com, would make Golden Boy the lead promoter “in association with Top Rank,” according to Maxboxing.com.
Maxboxing.com also reported that Top Rank President Todd duBoef and Donaire’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, acknowledged having seen the contract and apparently turned down the prospect without having shown it to either the fighter or his wife, Rachel Donaire.
Schaefer believes that the reason neither Donaire nor Arum has accepted his offer comes down to a bottom line.
“I don’t have a problem with Donaire not wanting to fight Mares or Top Rank not wanting to do business with Golden Boy,” said Schaefer. “But then they should just say so and stop making excuses. Don’t ask for a contract, and then when they have it, they come up with other excuses.”
Chief among the reasons for rejecting the offer, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, is the fact that Golden Boy’s offer proposes a June bout between Mares and Donaire, the latter of whom wants to return to an HBO-televised clash on April 13 against either WBA 122-pound beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux or two-division beltholder Vic Darchinyan.
“It’s a bulls— offer,” said Arum. “The lawyers are handling it. There is no possible way because we have a commitment to HBO. We’re going ahead with that commitment on April 13 on HBO. After that, we’ll revisit the situation. So he’s going to fight on April 13, and he’s going to fight either Rigondeaux or Darchinyan, period, end of story.
“Donaire last year was Fighter of The Year. Part of that was his efforts. But, secondly, a lot of the credit has to go to HBO, which afforded him the opportunity to fight four times last year. Four times so that he’s Fighter of The Year because of his efforts, and because of Top Rank’s efforts, and very importantly, because of HBO. It was HBO and the opportunities that they created and the publicity that they created that helped make Nonito the Fighter of The Year, and you don’t turn your back on that, period.”
Arum said he made a similar offer to Golden Boy for a Donaire-Mares clash on HBO on April 13.
“We offered a reasonable amount to them to fight, and I’m not going to negotiate in the media, but we offered them a reasonable amount to fight Mares on HBO on April 13, and they rejected that,” said Arum.
“We’re happy to do it. We’re happy to pay Mares and Golden Boy enough to where he’s going to get double what he’s ever gotten before in a fight. If they want to make a fight, they negotiate on what I will pay them, because the fight has to be on HBO.”
During their first public interviews regarding the situation on Monday, the Donaires told RingTV.com that they would not have signed the contract as is, largely due to the amount of time he would be out of the ring.
“From what I’m hearing, there is really no proper venue, no proper date, no later than this, no later than that, that’s not good enough. And then a 90-day postponement? I mean, come on. I’m in this phase where if I can fight four times a year, then I’ll fight four times a year. That’s why I’ve given the names to Cameron of who I want to fight this year,” said Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs), who was 4-0 with two knockouts over the course of 2012, and is coming off December’s third-round stoppage of Jorge Arce.
“That was Rigondeaux, that was Darchynian, and that was (WBA featherweight titleholder) Chris John at the end of the year. Those are the names I gave to Cameron. But I said that I would want Mares first if Golden Boy is willing to work with us. Abner Mares is the priority from among all of those guys if they can make it happen, and they can make it legitimate. As of now, from what I’m hearing, there is no set contract as to all of that stuff, which is maybe why Cameron hasn’t given me anything.”
Rachel Donaire agreed with her husband, and specifically referring to a three-month postponement provision in the contract which gives Golden Boy the right to “resehedule the bout to a date not later than ninety days after the originally scheduled date.”
“If Arum signs off on this, which I don’t think that he would, because it’s stupid, it could potentially put Nonito out of action for, at the maximum, nine months. That would mean that Arum didn’t do his job as a promoter, because that would bring down Nonito’s likeability down and his viewership down for sitting out for nine months,” said Rachel Donaire.
“Cameron usually bangs his head over the contract with the lawyers, and Todd; they make sure that it’s clean. If I request something, for example, an additional hotel room, they go back and they take care of it. They don’t even bother showing it to us until it’s the final, finished product. Otherwise, it’s a waste of our time and a waste of their time.”
The Donaires are also wary of a cancelation segment, which states, in part, “the parties shall have no further obligations to each other.”
“That’s another one of my big issues,” said Rachel Donaire, who is expecting their first child in July. “That something happens, and we don’t get paid.”
Below is the contract (click each thumbnail for a larger view).
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org