By Ronnie Nathanielsz
After a bitter family feud that took some of the luster out of Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire’s spectacular 2nd round knockout of Fernando “KO-Chulito” Montiel last February 19 when the classy Filipino won the WBC and WBO bantamweight belts, the pound-for-pound No. 4 now faces a bitter legal battle with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
Arum, in a telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Inquirer after Golden Boy Promotions announced that Donaire had signed a multi-year deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional outfit warned, “Somebody is going to pay for this.”
The astute promoter said there were two steps he would take to protect what he insisted is a valid contract with Donaire.
The first would be to “file a legal complaint with arbitrator (former judge Daniel Weinstein) against the actions of Golden Boy Promotions in signing up Donaire in the face of an existing contract with Top Rank. Judge Weinstein mediated the Top Rank – Golden Boy battle over pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao some years ago when a tug-of-war developed after Pacquiao signed with both promotional outfits but eventually went to Arum.
Arum also said he would take legal action to protect what he described as “a completely valid contract” with Donaire.
He described Donaire’s action in signing up with Golden Boy Promotions as “absolutely stupid” and blamed Donaire’s wife Rachael for the mess claiming she was a bad influence. At the same time Arum posed the question “How desperate can Golden Boy get?”
Arum claimed that Donaire had “medical suspensions of six months, twice” which effectively pushed back the validity of his contract. However, Rachael Donaire said the fighter’s hand was not hurt but “ was only swollen” after his fights.
Boxingscene.com quoted De La Hoya who said, "Nonito Donaire is one of the top boxers in the world today and we're going to make sure he gets the chance to defend his world titles and stays as active as possible."
De La Hoya noted that "The bantamweight division is becoming one of the most competitive and exciting divisions in boxing and we look forward to promoting Nonito in great fights in the coming years."
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer was quoted by USA Today as saying “It’s a big signing for us. He’s on most people’ pound for pound lists and is ranked right there with (Floyd) Mayweather, (Manny) Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez. From an excitement point of view, I think he's right on top of that list now. He's a young, exciting fighter and we're really happy to have him with Golden Boy."
Donaire’s wife Rachael two days ago hinted that they would be signing up with Golden Boy for “a lot more money” than Arum had offered Donaire to face WBA champion Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno is a unification bout on May 28.
Arum had reportedly offered Donaire a purse of $500,000 but BoxingScene/Inquirer understands that Golden Boy had upped the amount to $750,000.
For his part Donaire said he was “honored to be joining so many great fighters and champions on the Golden Boy Promotions team. I'm going to fight my heart out every time I'm in the ring and will give fans the fights they want to see."
Donaire’s first big win was his sensational 5th round knockout of cocky Vic Darchinyan to win the IBF/IBO flyweight titles on July 7, 2007. His next big wins were back-to-back demolitions of former world champion Wladimir Sidorenko in four bloody rounds and Montiel, the WBC/WBO champion in two.