Friday, 31 August 2012 19:17

Nonito Donaire | Is He Dodging Guillermo Rigondeaux?

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With his upcoming bout at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California just six weeks away 'The Filipino Flash' Nonito Donaire is now tightly locked away in his training camp preparing for battle with Japanese star Toshiaki Nishioka.

The pugilists will fight it out for the WBO & IBF super bantamweight titles, the WBC Diamond Belt, as well as the vacant Ring Magazine lineal title on October 13. But the question on the minds of a lot of boxing fans, writers and pundits alike is: When is Nonito going to face the WBA Champion and Cuban fight legend Guillermo Rigondeaux?

Is Nonito Donaire dodging him?

Donaire vs Rigondeaux is the jr featherweight fight boxing fans and enthusiasts want to see most but some are not convinced it's the fight Top Rank Chief Bob Arum wants to see.

Guillermo "El Chacal" Rigondeaux, considered by some as the greatest amateur boxer of all time, has stormed the Super Bantamweight division since his debut against Juan Noriega in 2009, which he won by a 3rd round KO. Today, the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist is 10-0 with 8 knockouts.

After a difficult PPV debut, a 12 round split decision victory over the taller, awkward Ricardo Cordoba, Guillermo Rigondeaux realized winning wasn't good enough. He had to be more exciting in his fights, if just for promotional reasons alone. And Rigo has not disappointed - He has KO'd all three of his opponents since the Cordova fight. And in his most recent outing, Rigo stopped Teon Kennedy in 5 rounds on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley bout in June, knocking down Kennedy 5 times.

Pictured: Guillermo "El Chacal" Rigondeaux, center Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank


In January, Rigo soundly and impressively defeated Rico Ramos, the then full WBA super bantamweight champion, knocking him out in round 6 of their bout on Showtime at the Palms Hotel.  

Previous to his title-taking efforts against Ramos, Rigondeaux successfully defended the interim WBA title in grand style in Dublin, Ireland, against Irish man and prizefighter winner Willie Casey, knocking him out with just over 20 seconds left in round 1.

Rigo KOs Rico Ramos - Highlights

He may not yet have the drawing power of the likes of Donaire or Nishioka, but Rigondeaux is a man on a mission who is ready for bigger fights in hopes of unifying the competitive, talent-rich jr featherweight division.

Nonito Donaire, a promoter's dream, is the biggest in the jr featherweight division and is ranked by most boxing media organizations among the top ten pound for pound fighters in the world. He has a huge Filipino following in Las Vegas and all over the States, similar to Manny Pacquiao. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, he puts bums on seats and typically wins fights in exciting fashion.

Pictured: Three-division world champion, Nonito Donaire, 'The Filipino Flash'



And although many in the boxing world, and certainly in Rigondeaux's camp, would question quality of his recent opponents, Donaire is an extremely talented fighter with a bright future in front of him.

At this moment, would Donaire vs Rigo be a high-risk low-reward endeavor for the "Filipino Flash?" Probably.

But in the eyes of boxing fans, writers, pundits, enthusiasts and fellow boxers, this fight has to happen if Donaire wishes to prove he is without peer in the division and leave a good and respectful legacy behind him prior to his anticipated leap to featherweight.

Will the men in suits behind clodsed doors, more specifically Arum & Co.,  advise Nonito against such a fight? Maybe - but fans hope Nonito Donaire steps up and accepts Rigondeaux's public challenge.

Guillermo himself, as well as an associate of his Nowhere 2 Hyde management team, confronted Nonito in Las Vegas at the Pacquiao/Bradley weigh in posed the question about a possible Donaire vs Rigondeaux superfight. And according to sources, Donaire responded in the affirmative yet this fight is nowhere closer to happening.

Pictured: LAS VEGAS, NV, January 20, 2012 – Two-time Olympian Guillermo Rigondeaux (R) knocks out Rico Ramos (L) in the 6th round to win the WBA Super Bantamweight belt and remain undefeated at 9-0, Friday night at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. — Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank


Rigondeaux is now idle for the immediate future as his proposed fight with Robert Marroquin for September 15th on the Martinez/Chavez Jr undercard at the Thomas & Mack Center has been cancelled.  Last week, Rigo's manager, Gary Hyde, sought an injunction due to a breach of contract on Rigondeaux's part as well as Top Rank's. Apparently, Rigondeaux has a contract with Gary Hyde's Nowhere 2 Hyde Company and cannot contractually agree to any fight without Mr. Hyde's approval.

It is believed that Golden Boy Promotions may have a substantially better offer on the table for Rigondeaux in the future. But regardless, speaking on behalf of the majority of boxing fans, I hope the business and legal side of things can be fixed as quick as possible so the fighters can do what they do best - Fight!

Pictured: Nonito Donaire, left, and Toshiaki Nishioka
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank


With the prospects dim for Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao super fight, would a possible meeting between Donaire and Rigondeaux be a mouthwatering alternative?

While Rigo looks to solve his business issues, Nonito Donaire is preparing for a tough match with Toshiaki Nishioka October 13th.  

Let's hope the men in suits who call the shots give the fans what they really want - El Chacal vs the winner of Donaire vs Nishioka.

5 Knockdowns! Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Teon Kennedy (Highlights) June 2012