By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s top notch, lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, has debunked the claims of WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire that Top Rank was guilty of a breach of contract that precipitated Donaire’s decision to sign up with arch rivals Golden Boy Promotions.
In a letter to Donaire’s lawyer and former Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman, Atty. John Bailey, Petrocelli asserted that the June 26, 2008 promotional agreement between Donaire and Top Rank “ is binding and fully enforceable. Mr. Donaire has no good-faith basis to contend otherwise.”
Petrocelli pointed out that the assertion that Top Rank breached Section 3 of the Agreement was “demonstrably wrong.”
The agreement stipulated that "during each year of this Agreement, Promoter shall offer to Fighter the right to participate in a minimum of three (3) bouts."
Petrocelli claimed that during the first full year of the June 2008 Agreement, Donaire was “offered and participated in bouts-against Moruti Mthalane , Raul Martinez, Rafael Concepcion, and Manuel Vargas. In the second full year of the June 2008 Agreement, Donaire already participated in three bouts-against Herman Marquez, Volodymyr Sydorenko and Fernando Montiel. Furthermore, Top Rank has made Donaire numerous additional offers to fight including, among others, a bout in Mexico in May 2010, a bout in New York in June 2010. After Mr. Donaire's most recent bout, Top Rank began discussions with concerning a bout in May 2011.”
Petrocelli debunked Bailey’s claim that Top Rank offered Mr. Donaire "only two fights" in each of the first two years of the agreement based on the premise that "the first year" of the Agreement ran from "June 26, 2008 thru June 25, 2009" and the "second year" ran from "June 26, 2009, thru June 25, 2010."
Top Rank’s lawyer noted that the claim was incorrect since Donaire “broke a bone in his left hand during his November 1, 2008 bout against Mthalane, the first bout under the June 2008 agreement."
He said the Nevada Athletic Commission placed Donaire on “medical suspension to allow the hand to heal.” He also pointed out that Donaire “broke a bone in his hand” in his clash with Rafael Concepcion on August 15, 2009 and that the NSAC once again placed Donaire on medical suspension to allow the hand to heal.
Donaire did not fight again until his demolition of Manuel "Chango" Vargas on February 13, 2010 after which he blasted Hernan Marquez on July 10, 2010 followed by his 4th round demolition of Wladimir Sidorenko last December . In his last fight Donaire scored a spectacular 2nd round knockout of WBC/WBO champion Fernando “KO-Chulito” Montiel in Las Vegas on February 13,2010.
Top Rank noted that Donaire was “injured and on medical suspension for more than 300 days during the "first year" of the promotional contract even as Petrocelli stated that Section 12 of the June 2008 Agreement makes clear that the "Term of this Agreement" and "the obligations of ... Promoter relating to bouts set forth in Section 3 ... shall automatically be extended" for the period when a "bout scheduled to be promoted [is] postponed for any reason."
Petrocelli told Bailey that as a former Commissioner, he knew that Top Rank was not permitted to promote a bout involving Donaire during his medical suspension and that as a consequence the "first year" of Mr. Donaire's contract is not "June 26, 2008 thru June 25,2009." Rather, the "first year" under the June 2008 Agreement ran from June 26, 2008 through approximately June 9, 2010. As mentioned, Mr. Donaire was offered and fought in four bouts during that year. The "second year" under the June 2008 agreement is not "June 26,2009 thru June 25, 2010," but commenced on or around June 10,2010 and continues through June 9, 2011, barring further injuries or postponements. “
It was also stated that Donaire has already been offered and participated in three bouts during this period.
Top Rank said that until they received a letter from Bailey on March 4, they had discussed with representatives of Donaire the possibility of a May 28 fight which would be a fourth bout during the second year of the contract.
Petrocelli also noted that after Donaire defeated Heman Marquez in July 2010, Top Rank proposed a Two-Bout Agreement under which he would fight opponents in late 2010 and early 2011.
Donaire, at that time notified Top Rank that he believed he had not been offered a sufficient number of fights in prior years and suggested that Top Rank "increase the purses" being offered "to make up for the shortfall for the loss of two fights over the last 2 years."
Although Top Rank disagreed with Donaire's contention they accommodated him in an effort to resolve any dispute and increased the total purse by $75,000 which Donaire accepted.
Arum told BoxingScene.com/Inquirer “Somebody is going to pay for this” while Petrocelli warned that if Donaire “continues to repudiate or deny his contractual obligations, Top Rank will pursue all legal redress against him and any others who infringe Top Rank's contractual and other rights.”