Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux are a step closer to meeting in an HBO main event on April 13, as the Rigondeaux team say they've received a contract for the fight, and are happy with the terms. Manager Gary Hyde says they hope to have the deal signed this week.
Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO) is sort of the "B" choice for fans to face Donaire next, with Golden Boy's Abner Mares the fight everyone really wanted to see. But despite grandstanding offers by both Top Rank and Golden Boy to promote the fight and pay the rival promoter a fee to do so, the fight was never close to reality, by all accounts.
That said, the 32-year-old Rigondeaux may wind up the tougher fight for the highly-regarded Donaire (31-1, 20 KO). While Donaire went 4-0 last year and won every major Fighter of the Year award, there is some valid criticism that the wins were against good opponents, yes, but all of them rather massive underdogs against the Filipino. That's not really his fault, necessarily -- he can't be blamed for being this good -- but his December win over Jorge Arce in particular was a mere formality, and fans are now itching to see him take on one of the guys perceived to be a major challenge for him.
Rigondeaux is definitely one of those fighters. The two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba is considered one of the great amateur fighters in history, and though he doesn't captivate audiences with action, he has beaten and usually plain outclassed better fighters in 11 pro bouts than a lot of guys face in their first 25 outings these days.
The fight would be held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.