NEW YORK – Gary Hyde, the manager of WBA junior featherweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux, says that he expects that his client will sign to face THE RING’s 122-pound champion Nonito Donaire on April 13 in the coming days. Hyde says the bout will take place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, where Donaire defeated Omar Narvaez in 2011.
“I expect ‘Rigo’ to sign in the next couple of days, as we are satisfied with the bout contract,” Hyde told RingTV.com.
Both Donaire (30-1, 21 knockouts) of San Leandro, Calif., and Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) of Miami, are promoted by Top Rank, which made negotiations for the fight much easier than the stalled talks that failed to produce a bout with Donaire and the Golden Boy-promoted Abner Mares, who held the WBC version of the junior featherweight title before announcing that he’d move up to featherweight this past week.
Still, the Donaire-Rigondeaux negotiations weren’t without their own issues. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told veteran reporter Ronnie Nathanielsz that Rigondeaux had a pending legal dispute with Miami-based Caribe Promotions which threatened to eliminate him as a foe for the reigning Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year Donaire.
Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti cautioned that a deal isn’t done until it’s done, adding that they were “closer” to finalizing an opponent. Moretti said that Donaire’s opponent would either be Rigondeaux or Vic Darchinyan, the former two-division world titleholder whom Donaire knocked out in 2007’s Knockout of the Year.
Moretti said that they were looking at locations in New York, Texas and California for the fight.
“It’s really just a comparison for what’s the best deal for everybody,” said Moretti, who added that they would have a clearer picture by the middle of next week. Moretti also tweeted that he wasn’t in favor of bringing the fight to New York because it “costs too much.”
Meanwhile, the BWAA announced on Saturday morning that they will be honoring Donaire at their annual awards dinner on Thursday, April 11 at a location to be decided in New York City. Donaire’s trainer Robert Garcia, who himself was a former world champion, will be honored as Trainer of the Year that same night.
When BWAA board member Michael Woods announced the awards dinner information on his Twitter account, Moretti quickly replied “What if the fight ends up in [Texas] or [The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles]?”
Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.