- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- Nonito Donaire relinquished one of his two junior featherweight world titles Saturday morning, hours before he was to defend both against former titlist Toshiaki Nishioka at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., in the HBO "Boxing After Dark" main event.
Donaire made it official by declining to participate in the IBF's mandated weight check Saturday morning because he decided he would not defend that version of the 122-pound title, manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com.
Dunkin said he recommended to Donaire that he vacate the title and save the nearly $40,000 in sanctioning fees because soon after the fight was finished the IBF would send out a notification that his mandatory defense was due against the winner of the Oct. 27 eliminator between former titlist Takalani Ndlovu of South Africa and Alejandro Lopez of Mexico.
Dunkin pointed out that Donaire's defense would be due before the end of the year -- and he might not fight again before the end of the year, win or lose Saturday night -- and that even if he did fight again in 2012, HBO would have no interest in buying a Donaire fight against Ndlovu or Lopez.
"So my recommendation was save the money instead of paying it and being stripped later when he wound up not fighting the (Ndlovu-Lopez) winner," Dunkin said.
Donaire's WBO version of the title is still at stake. The IBF belt will not be at stake for Nishioka, who also did not participate in the weight check. In Japan, the IBF is not recognized, so he and his team had no interest in pursuing it in the first place.
"We respect the IBF's rules and, by the same token, we respect Donaire's decision to not defend the title and give the opportunity to fight for the title to somebody else," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "But the fact is, Donaire versus whoever that winds up being probably is an unsellable fight."