By Ronnie Nathanielsz
IBF/IBO flyweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire may wind up fighting Puerto Rico’s Jose “Carita” Lopez (38-7-2, 32 KO’s) for the WBO super flyweight title since reigning champion Fernando Montiel reportedly can’t make the weight.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum gave us a rundown of developments in an overseas telephone conversation with insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports from his home in Las Vegas .
Arum said Montiel cannot make the weight and would move up and fight Puerto Rico ’s Erik Morel, the mandatory challenger to WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa who has been offered the fight he has long said he’s wanted, against WBO 122 pound champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez.
Under the Arum scenario, Penalosa would relinquish the bantamweight title for a bigger money, title fight against Lopez.
He said he had discussed the fight with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer since GBP has Penalosa under contract . Arum said “ Richard is happy to make the match and we are reaching out to Penalosa” to get the fight done. He said it would be held in either New York or Las Vegas and they have an April 4 date already available.
Arum said he hasn’t spoken to Penalosa and doesn’t wish to because “we are very friendly with Golden Boy and we don’t want any problems since he has a contract with them. Let him (Penalosa) talk to his promoter. Tell him to call Eric Gomez or Richard Schaefer.”
When we spoke to Penalosa about the chance to fight “Juanma” Lopez he said he was excited and “it would be great. That’s the fight I want.” However, in the same breath he said he didn’t want to talk to the GBP people. It was only when we explained that he had no choice because his hopes that Arum would sign him up were misplaced and he may wind up without a fight, that he agreed to call Golden Boy Promotions.
The Top Rank promoter said he would “absolutely get more money” than in a mandatory defense against Morel and warned that if Penalosa keeps making things difficult Lopez is going to go up against another opponent.”
Arum said that if Penalosa beats Lopez he’ll be a hot property. At the same time Arum said he believes Penalosa has a hard time making the weight even as he said a Penalosa-Morel clash would be a “nothing fight.”
As of now there has been no indication of any interest on the part of Penalosa’s people in making a pitch in the Purse Bid set for January 12 at the WBO offices to be presided over by WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel. Even the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN which Penalosa appeared to be banking on has indicated it was too expensive at this particular time, given the economic situation and competing fights.
Arum said he plans to expand the March 15 fight card at the Araneta Coliseum to a triple championship fight card with Donaire battling Jose “Carita” Lopez for the WBO super flyweight title, Fernando Montiel clashing with Erik Morel for the WBO bantamweight crown and former WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria facing reigning IBF champion Ulises Solis for Solis’ title.