Donaire Leaves Top Rank for Golden Boy

March 16, 2011

The ongoing feud between rival promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank just took another dramatic turn, as Golden Boy has announced in a press release that it has signed bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire to a multi-year agreement.

Donaire, 28, is fresh off a dominant second round stoppage of Fernando Montiel, a fighter many had felt deserved to be the 2010 boxer of the year. Nicknamed the "Filipino Flash, " Donaire currently ranks as high as fourth on the pound-for-pound lists of many publications.

"Nonito Donaire is one of the top boxers in the world today and we're going to make sure he gets the chance to defend his world titles and stays as active as possible," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "The bantamweight division is becoming one of the most competitive and exciting divisions in boxing and we look forward to promoting Nonito in great fights in the coming years."

"I'm honored to be joining so many great fighters and champions on the Golden Boy Promotions team," said Donaire. "I'm going to fight my heart out every time I'm in the ring and will give fans the fights they want to see."

Golden Boy and Top Rank have been at each other's throats for years due to the icy relationship between De La Hoya and his former promoter Bob Arum. The result has been years of lawsuits, name-calling, and worst of all for boxing fans, a general reluctance by the two sides to pit their best fighters against those of their rival.

The Donaire signing signals a major coup for Golden Boy, and likely will lead to more litigation between the promoters.

In Donaire, Golden Boy is getting the premiere fighter in the division, who also happens to have the type of concussive knockout power to draw even casual boxing fans.  More importantly, Donaire is in the prime of his career and at the top of his game.

A native of the Philippines who now resides in San Leandro, California, Donaire (26-1, 18 KO's) is unbeaten since his lone loss in his first year as a professional in 2001. Since then, he has defeated everyone put in his path, and in July of 2007, he won the IBF and IBO Flyweight World Titles with a fifth round knockout of then-unbeaten Vic "Raging Bull" Darchiniyan.

Donaire went on to defend his titles three times before winning the WBA Super Flyweight Interim World Title with a unanimous decision victory over Rafael "Torito" Concepcion in August of 2009. He later successfully defended that belt in August of 2010 against Hernan "Tyson" Marquez.

Following the Marquez fight, Donaire moved up to the bantamweight division where in just his second bout at the new weight, he shocked the boxing world with the ease with which he dominated Fernando "Cochulito" Montiel in February.

With Donaire switching to Golden Boy, Abner Mares must be jumping for joy.  Mares is set to fight in the finals of the Bantamweight Tournament in April, and should he win, he is in line to get a big payday from a potential matchup with Donaire.

Such a circumstance could never have occurred without Donaire joining Golden Boy because Mares is a Golden Boy fighter himself, and therefore, might have been frozen out by Top Rank should he have sought that fight.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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