John Riel Casimero’s promoter hopes his fighter gets the opportunity to beat the opponent he wanted to fight two weeks ago.
That’ll require Nonito Donaire to change his mind about boxing his fellow Filipino in what seemingly would be an entertaining bantamweight title unification fight. After agreeing to replace Guillermo Rigondeaux, whom Casimero beat by split decision Saturday night, Donaire withdrew from their bout because neither he nor his wife/manager, Rachel Donaire, was comfortable with Casimero’s enrollment in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s testing program for performance-enhancing drugs.
Casimero contended yet again after he beat Rigondeaux that Donaire is scared to fight him.
“Nonito Donaire signed a contract,” Sean Gibbons, president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, said. “Be a man! Grow some balls! Stand up! [Donaire is] not fighting Inoue. He’s got a contract [to fight Casimero]. Step up and fight us, if he wants to do a real fight. So, I know what you’re saying – the [Inoue-Donaire] fight is happening – but that’s news to us. We want Donaire. We signed for Donaire. If he wants to run and he wants to talk about Inoue, then so be it. Casimero’s the world champion. He’ll fight someone. He’s the champ! That’s the bottom line.”
A reporter asked Casimero and Gibbons about how an Inoue-Donaire rematch happening next would impact the WBO bantamweight champ’s return to the ring.
Japan’s Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) is expected to fight in his home country sometime in December. He defeated Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) by unanimous decision in a fan-friendly fight in November 2019 in Saitama, Japan, but a rematch made even more business sense once Donaire regained the WBC bantamweight title by knocking out France’s Nordine Oubaali (17-1, 12 KOs) in the fourth round May 29 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Casimero-Rigondeaux was announced late in April as part of Showtime’s four-month slate of fights. By mid-June, though, Donaire replaced Rigondeaux as Casimero’s opponent because their all-Filipino unification fight was considered more appealing by Premier Boxing Champions’ Al Haymon and Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza.
Rigondeaux agreed to step aside because the two-time Olympic gold medalist felt he would get a shot at the Casimero-Donaire winner. The 40-year-old Cuban southpaw stepped back into Showtime’s main event once Donaire pulled out.
Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs) defeated Rigondeaux (20-2, 13 KOs, 1 NC) by split decision, but Rigondeaux’s reluctance to engage made their 12-rounder difficult to watch.
Judge Tim Cheatham still scored their boring bout for Rigondeaux, 115-113. He was overruled by judges Robert Hoyle (117-111) and Daniel Sandoval (116-112), both of whom favored Casimero.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.