By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has laid down specific conditions for a possible showdown between reigning WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, and former WBC champion Abner Mares, who recently relinquished his title and moved up to featherweight which is a move being contemplated by Donaire in the future.
Mares gets a title shot at WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 4 while Donaire defends his title against undefeated former Cuban two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 13 in a fight to be telecast by ABS-CBN Channel 2 at 10:15 a.m. on April 14. It will also be telecast on The Filipino Channel which has a large following especially in the Middle East and will be replayed on Studio 23 on Sunday afternoon.
Both Donaire and Mares have said in the past they’d like to face each other.
However, Arum insists that the only way a Donaire-Mares fight can happen is if Mares goes to his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, and tells them he wants the fight on HBO and not Showtime and the purse for Mares and the share for Golden Boy has to be reasonable.
Arum laid down the conditions during a three-way conversation with well-known Australian promoter Peter Maniatis and his co-host Mark Fine on the top-rated weekly boxing show “Ringside” on SEN Radio in Melbourne.
He said if Mares “is willing to come over and fight Donaire on HBO that’s fine.” Arum claimed that Mares “doesn’t enjoy 25 percent of the popularity Donaire enjoys but if he wants to fight Nonito and get a real good pay day we’ll be happy to fight Mares.”
Arum made it clear “I’m not having any of my fighters fight on any other network other than HBO. They have to be willing to come over and fight on HBO” even as he pointed out that Donaire exceeds a million viewers a fight while Showtime’s top performers are lucky to do 600,000. Arum posed the question “why would a fighter who is built up on HBO sacrifice and perform for half the people who would ordinarily see him on HBO?”
The sometimes fiery promoter said “there are other fighters he (Donaire) can fight and there is no great magic in fighting Mares or not fighting him. If Mares is willing to come over and fight Donaire on HBO that’s fine. If he isn’t, Donaire continues with his career which is taking off like a rocket and Mares has missed the last train out of town.”