By Chris Robinson
On Tuesday afternoon, I caught up with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum inside of the main lobby of the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Arum was anticipating the grand arrival of his latest signee, former two-time gold medalist Zou Shiming from China, he took a few moments to address the latest developments with another one of his star fighters, Nonito Donaire.
Donaire is presently eyeing an April return to the ring, with reports having either a clash with WBA junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux or a rematch with former titlist Vic Darchinyan on tap.
There has been plenty of confusion taking place in the camp of Rigondeaux, from his issues with Miami-based Caribe Promotions to the Cuban bringing in the services of trainer Pedro Diaz at the expense of his former coach Jorge Rubio.
“That will be decided by the end of the week,” Arum said when discussing the situation. “We have made an offer to Rigondeaux and we’re waiting to see if he accepts.”
While a fight with Rigondeaux is a fine encounter for Donaire, there is still a bit of aftertaste following the fallout of a match with Abner Mares, the WBC belt holder at 122 pounds.
The ongoing feud between Donaire’s promoter, Top Rank, and Golden Boy, who oversees Mares, made such a match a long shot to begin with and Arum claims he was upset that the fight wasn’t made.
“Yeah, that was a fight that we would have liked to make but it was impossible,” stated Arum.
While Golden Boy had issued a contract to Top Rank for $3 million for the services of Donaire for the Mares bout, Arum still deems the offer as being absurd.
“It wasn’t a real offer,” Arum insisted. “It’s not an offer; it’s not a contract where a promoter can call it off 15 days before a fight and without any liability. What kind of contract is that?”
I pressed Arum for any key reasons why it has been difficult for him to work with Oscar De La Hoya, Richard Schaefer, and the Golden Boy brass yet he insists it’s nothing personal.
“It’s more complicated than you think,” Arum explained. “Because, obviously, we work with every other promoter. And the problem is that they’re tied to one network (Showtime) and we and Donaire have loyalty to another (HBO) because that network enabled him to become fighter of the year.
“You understand that [Schaefer] has contractual ties to various companies and we have contractual ties to other companies,” Arum added. “That makes it impossible very often to arrange a match. Because I’m not going to get sued and neither is he.”
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