- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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There’s no fight that junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs) would like more than one against Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs), who unified two belts with a lopsided decision win against Jeffrey Mathebula on July 7.
However, Rigondeaux, the gifted two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, is unlikely to get the fight with Donaire, at least in the near future. Top Rank and Donaire manager Cameron Dunkin have Donaire’s near-term schedule mapped out. He is headed to a fall fight against Mexican star Jorge Arce and, with a win, a probable fight after that with former titlist Toshiaki Nishioka.
Then there is also the matter of Rigondeaux’s promotional contract with Top Rank, which expired on June 15. While his team continues to negotiate a new deal with Top Rank, he also has a bigger offer from Golden Boy Promotions on the table, according to what a member of Team Rigondeaux told me.
If Top Rank can strike a new deal with Rigondeaux -- or even if they simply do another fight together while continuing to discuss a new deal -- Bob Arum’s company would like to have Rigondeaux defend his title against Roberto Marroquin (one of the Top Rank’s top prospects) either on the Sept. 15 Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. HBO PPV undercard or in the co-feature of the Donaire-Arce fight on HBO.
It will depend on which date Top Rank and HBO work out for the Donaire-Arce show and, obviously, if Rigondeaux doesn’t take the Golden Boy offer.
Top Rank has more opponents to offer to Rigondeaux (even if the Donaire camp doesn’t want to fight him) than Golden Boy does (it has titleholder Abner Mares but little else), but the Golden Boy offer, I am told, is “substantially” bigger money.
Whatever happens with Rigondeaux’s contract, he has made it clear he wants Donaire and is trying to goad him into a fight by referring to “The Filipino Flash” as “The Filipino Phony.”
"Donaire is running scared of any super bantamweights with power," Rigondeaux said in translated remarks. “He hasn't knocked out anybody at 122 pounds. One thing is for sure, though: He will get knocked out if he has the guts to fight me."
Rigondeaux, who knocked out Rico Ramos in the sixth round to win a belt in January and looked spectacular in a fifth-round knockout of Teon Kennedy in his first defense on the June 9 Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard, spent some time a couple of years ago training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., and invoked the name of Roach’s star pupil, Pacquiao, to make a comparison to fellow Filipino Donaire.
"Manny fought the best fighters around when he was moving up through weight classes but this phony, Donaire, is disappointing fans all over the world, especially Filipino people, by running scared from the best fighter at 122 pounds," Rigondeaux said. “I competed against more than 250 amateur boxers from every continent and none of those guys were paid to fight me. 'The Filipino Phony' will be paid a king's ransom to fight me, but he's scared enough to move up to 126 just to avoid fighting me. The problem he faces, though, is I will also move up to featherweight once I've cleaned out the super bantamweight division. What's he going to do then, move up to super featherweight?"