Nonito Donaire, Jr. is familiar with Guillermo Rigondeaux's plea. For years he called out the sport's big names after his sensational win over Vic Darchinyan in 2007 as a flyweight, hoping to cash in on his newfound fame, but had to settle with fighting lesser known, and financially less rewarding opponents. He said the "big boys" wanted too much money at the time to fight him and give him his opportunity.
Some of those names have gone on to become world champions like Moruti Mthalane and Hernan Marquez, but if he had it his way, he would've wanted to fight the likes of Jorge Arce, Christian Mijares, and Fernando Montiel, whom he fought later on at the bantamweight division. Now Rigondeaux has been calling him out, and some fans have taken the bait and labelled Donaire a "ducker".
"What people fail to see is that the negotiations is what makes the fight happen," Donaire told me when I asked him about the whole drama regarding Rigondeaux.
As much as Donaire wants, and has wanted to fight the biggest names available for him, truth is, boxing doesn't work like that. Donaire has a contract with his promoter, and his promotional company has their own plans in how they intend to cash in and market their investment.
"People think I make all my fights, but I've called out all my fights," Donaire said, and reiterated, "It's the negotiation process is what makes the fight."
"I don't care. Whoever's name is in that contract, that's who I'm fighting. I'll say 'this and this and that', I'll say 'hey I want to fight Mares', 'hey I want to fight Nishioka', they're going to take it in consideration, but they got to talk to the guys, and the guys that represent them, the networks and all that stuff. It takes a long time. Imagine that. This is just this level. Imagine the Mayweather and Pacquiao level," Donaire explained.
Rigondeaux, despite having a world title, has not proven himself to be a draw. And as far as the negotiation process goes, there are more sensible fights for Donaire financially at the moment like Arce or Nishioka than the Cuban amateur boxing legend. As fans, we can all express our discontent for not getting the fights we want, but sadly, professional boxing is a business, and promoters, networks, and fighters have to all agree on what makes the best business sense.
"Lets say for example, the Darchinyan rematch; it was already a signed contract, but I guess, supposedly, 'Darchinyan said' I signed to late when there was three months still before the fight. But I think they just didn't agree with the money," Donaire continued. "From what I heard at that time, Darchinyan had the Armenian TV rights and Australian TV rights, but they wanted more. Like I said, it's the negotiation process that makes the fight happen."
As much as Rigondeaux is a very capable champion in the super bantamweight division, it doesn't help his case that he is relatively unknown outside of hardcore boxing fanatics. Donaire makes a lot of money, and Rigondeaux is looking to make his share for a fight with Donaire. Unless he is willing to take "Mathebula money", then a showdown with Donaire is a tough sell at this point.
"Or lets say with Rigondeaux; HBO has been disappointed with him," Donaire pointed out. "HBO doesn't want to match me with him for the fact that it might be a boring fight. They don't want another Narvaez. That's why they'd rather pick an Arce, or a Gatti type of fighter, because it's exciting for them, because there's blood and that kind of stuff."