By Ryan Maquiñana
Pound-for-pound star Nonito Donaire was back in the headlines recently when he announced he would be returning to Top Rank after a lengthy legal battle with rival Golden Boy over the fighter’s promotional rights.
But when the unified bantamweight king broke the story to Dennis “DSource” Guillermo, Donaire made sure to give special mention to his wife Rachel, who supported him throughout the proceedings before deciding on the right deal (one that Team Donaire is not at liberty to discuss).
That being said, this writer caught up with Rachel, who was gracious enough to share how the reunion and subsequent agreement with Top Rank came to fruition, as she also provided BoxingScene with a glimpse of what lies ahead for the “Filipino Flash.”
BoxingScene: Hi, Rachel. Congratulations on getting the deal done. Leading up to it, however, there were quite a few rumors circulating. I was in Southern California last week for Brandon Rios’s weigh-in and filmed [Nonito’s trainer] Robert Garcia for a YouTube video where he refuted a report that said Nonito was close to signing with Top Rank.
Rachel Donaire: Yeah, I retweeted that video (LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h74t8ZGJLcY). I’m glad you did that because there were a lot of ridiculous rumors saying Nonito signed this or we signed that when it wasn't true. We hadn’t agreed to anything yet. But now everything’s finally over with and now he can focus on getting back in the ring.
BoxingScene: I know you can’t talk about the details of the deal, but how did you come to an agreement eventually?
Rachel Donaire: We had already started talking with Top Rank again about what we felt were the problems. They came with a solution to the problems, but of course, it took time to come to an agreement on the issues. It took about a month for us to settle our differences.
BoxingScene: Speaking of working it out, how did you do that with Bob Arum? He said a few things about you that I’m sure offended you.
Rachel Donaire: Well, he apologized. I’ll forgive someone if they really mean that they’re sorry. I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge unless he did it purposely to hurt me, and here it was just business. I didn’t look at it any way other than business. He’s been in it for so long so he must’ve taken it personally instead of something they had overlooked we were unhappy with in the deal.
BoxingScene: So I take it his apology made things easier.
Rachel Donaire: Yeah, it did but I mean it still took a bit because we just weren’t on the same page yet as far as our differences. We haven’t really talked to Bob since then because he’s on vacation, and we actually finalized everything with Todd [DuBoef].
BoxingScene: The talk is that Nonito will return in October. After he beat [Fernando] Montiel in February, Top Rank had proposed a May date with Anselmo Moreno in the [San Francisco] Bay Area. Ideally, when do you think Nonito will fight again?
Rachel Donaire: Not sure yet, but didn’t Moreno sign with Gary Shaw? I thought he did, but I’m not sure. Then [Abner] Mares and [Joseph] Agbeko are tied up unless the winner of that wants to fight Nonito next. I haven’t really been following that [bantamweight] tournament, but that might lead to something.
BoxingScene: If he can’t make any of those fights happen, what’s next? A move up to 122 pounds?
Rachel Donaire: Nonito wants to fight the winner of that tournament and whoever that is, it’s fine with him. It’s just funny because Nonito had never mentioned anything about Agbeko, and Agbeko had never mentioned anything about Nonito. But then Agbeko was saying that Nonito was a coward because he didn’t get into the tournament. Agbeko said he was claiming that the people in the tournament were in a higher class than the people outside of the tournament like Nonito and Montiel, and Nonito’s first reaction was, ‘Didn’t Agbeko lose to [Wladimir] Sidorenko?' It didn’t make sense why Agbeko was talking when he lost to the guy Nonito knocked out in four rounds.
BoxingScene: Could Agbeko possibly be baiting you into a fight in the future?
Rachel Donaire: Probably, if he wins the tournament and the promoters agree. I'll believe it when I see the signed contract. Nonito always gets close. It happened with Darchinyan. He always gets close to it, and right when he's right there, they always say I don’t think I like this part of the contract or that part, and it falls through. Nonito wants to fight them, but they don’t want to. Montiel is actually the only one for a long time that mentioned him, challenged him, and went all the way through the contract to the fight. I think that's the only way for boxing really to survive. The best have to fight the best so they entertain the crowd.
Ryan Maquiñana is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @rmaq28.