Golden Boy Promotions sent out a press release today announcing the multi-year contract singing of bantamweight star Nonito Donaire. But before anyone gets too excited, Top Rank is ready to challenge the deal. Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno that their contract with Donaire is still valid:
"We have a valid, binding, legal contract in full force and effect, and we are going through our lawyers to pursue our legal remedies. The point is, that we have a valid contract, and nobody is going to push us around, and we are going to enforce our contract. And anybody that doesn't respect our contract we are going to go after," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
Here comes another lawsuit, and everyone can forget about that Golden Boy-Top Rank Cold War ending any time soon.
If this development does hold up, it's quite a move for Golden Boy. As we were discussing this morning, Golden Boy is very short on young fighters who have real star power. Donaire will give them a major "in" for the Filipino market, and a fighter who has headlined cards on both HBO and Showtime.
He also keeps them busy in the bantamweight division, and while this almost surely means that Donaire won't be fighting on May 28, it does mean that if Abner Mares wins that Showtime tournament, you can probably expect to see Donaire-Mares, which at that point would be a clear 1-2 in the division, later in the year.
But there's also a good chance Donaire won't be fighting anyone any time soon, as Top Rank, if they really do have a valid contract, is going to take this to court, and Donaire's career will be left up in the air. Donaire was being guaranteed $500,000 by Arum for a May 28 fight, and it was Top Rank that got him into an HBO headlining spot as a bantamweight, which is not something you see very often. Top Rank was also where he went after he broke off from his deal with Gary Shaw, his original promoter, accusing Shaw of basically all the same things that he's accusing Top Rank of today.
I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more of this as it develops.