Donaire Comes East to Face Cuban Olympic Champion

Gabriel Montoya of has reported via his twitter (@Gabriel_Montoya) that a fight between junior featherweight titlists Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux has been finalized for April 13, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, New York. For a fight below the lightweight division, it is a very significant fight.

However, it should be noted that this fight, between two highly skilled pugilists, is not without criticism. As was widely reported, Donaire and his promoter, Top Rank, were offered $3,000,000 by Golden Boy Promotions to face another junior featherweight titlist, Abner Mares. For any number of reasons, ranging from the proposed date of the fight (allegedly when Donaire’s wife is due to give birth to their first child), to certain postponement clauses, to video rights and television network issues, Donaire and Top Rank declined the fight. Now, Donaire has agreed to a fight against a less known fighter, in a venue across the country from his Bay Area home, for less money. Additionally, it is widely believed that even though Mares’ is much more accomplished in the professional game than Rigondeaux, the Cuban southpaw’s defensive and counter-punching style may prove to be a more difficult task than the pressure fighting former Mexican Olympian. Speaking of styles, it is also widely believed that because Donaire and Rigondeaux are both counter-punchers, this fight could potentially be boring.

Regardless, Donaire is quickly raising his profile. He has scored awesome knock out victories of Vic Darchinyian and Fernando Montiel. His work last year, where he earned four victories and two titles (and the Ring Magazine championship) in the junior featherweight division, was good enough to be voted fighter of the year by the BWAA. Thus, there will be significant interest in his fight. Such interest will be heightened because he is facing a two-time olympic gold medalist in Rigondeaux. Additionally, while Donaire will be fighting away on the opposite coast, this will be second time he is headlining in the Big Apple. In his first effort on Broadway, he drew a good crowd for his boring decision victory against a risk-adverse Omar Narvaez in 2011. It is anticipated that given Donaire’s rising profile and the Filipino population in the New York area, a good crowd will be present.

Moreover, it should be noted that this card marks yet another high profile boxing event to come from New York City. In years past, it appeared that most high profile events aired on premium cable, excluding those starring Miguel Cotto or Felix Trinidad, originated from Las Vegas or Los Angeles. In 2013 alone, New York has had/will have 5-6 events in the first half of the year. These events include the recent Mikey Garcia vs. Orlando Salido/Gennady Golovkin vs. Gabriel Rosado January bouts at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the March card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn featuring Bernard Hopkins vs. Tavoris Cloud, the March tripleheader at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York featuring Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Jayson Velez, the lightweight title bout between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere and Gary Russell, Jr. in yet another showcase fight, the April showdown at the Barclays Center between Danny Garcia and Zab Judah and a possible June card at the Barclays Center during the weekend of the Puerto Rican Pride Parade. With all these major cards coming to New York, who knows, maybe Floyd Mayweather’s May fight against … well, whoever it may be, could end up in New York. Given New York’s tax issues, that is not happening, but the area is getting a number of televised cards in the near future.

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