By Keith Idec
A deal is nearly complete for Nonito Donaire to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13, but the site for the HBO main event has to be chosen before it can be officially announced.
Officials for Top Rank Inc., which promotes Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) and Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs), will meet next week to determine the viability of bringing the 122-pound title fight to Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and several sites in Texas also are under consideration.
Donaire fought twice at Home Depot Center last year. He defeated South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula (26-4-2, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision there July 7 and stopped Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka (39-5-3, 24 KOs) there Oct. 13.
The Oct. 13 card drew well (7,665 fans), thanks in part to the highly anticipated Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado junior welterweight fight that was part of HBO’s doubleheader. A crowd of about 3,700 attended the July 7 card.
The 30-year-old Donaire, a consensus top five pound-for-pound fighter, also fought in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in October 2011, when he out-pointed Argentina’s Omar Narvaez (38-1-2, 20 KOs) in an infamously dull 12-round bantamweight title fight. That card drew 4,425 fans.
There has not been a boxing card at Radio City Music Hall since Roy Jones Jr. defeated David Telesco in an HBO-televised light heavyweight title fight there Jan. 15, 2000. Radio City Music Hall can accommodate approximately 5,000 fans for boxing, about the same as The Theater.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.