By Robert Morales
When Golden Boy Promotions recently signed bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, it meant Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens likely would get a chance to fight him if Mares defeated another world champion, Joseph Agbeko, on April 23 in the Showtime bantamweight tournament finale at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.
But an arbitrator this week enjoined Golden Boy from promoting Donaire, which means Donaire might have to finish out his contract with Top Rank Inc.
That would mean Mares, who is promoted by Golden Boy, likely would not get a shot at Donaire until Donaire is a free agent because Golden Boy and Top Rank hate each other and are not making fights together.
Mares and his co-manager, Frank Espinoza, were asked this week about their disappointment in this regard.
"Yeah, it is, it's frustrating," said Espinoza, of West Covina. "I don't know the legal aspects of it, whether Golden Boy or Top Rank will still have the rights to Nonito Donaire. I think that's going to be fought in court.
"He wants the best fights. I think it's a fan-pleasing fight. We want to fight the best, Donaire is the best. There is a problem there when the two can't face the two because of promoters."
Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) expressed similar dissatisfaction at the notion he may not get a shot at one of boxing's pound-for-pound best fighters. "But the audience, the people, know it's not our fault," said Mares, 25. "Politics, it is how it is. People know how boxing is sometimes. I don't see any other fight he (Donaire) can fight at bantamweight."
Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) is promoted by Don King, so if he beats Mares he probably would not have any trouble getting a fight with Donaire because Bob Arum of Top Rank and King have become buddy-buddy of late.
Donaire has hired an attorney and could fight this in court.
For now, he is prevented from fighting for Golden Boy because Top Rank attorney Daniel Petrocelli effectively argued Top Rank's contract with Donaire was extended because of injuries that did not allow him to fulfill his contractual obligation.