Last week, the hottest topic in the sport of boxing was the negotiations taking place between the top two Jr. featherweights in the world, Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares. Twitter verse was rampant when Mares’ promoter Golden Boy had sent a contract offer to Top Rank, Donaire’s promoter. Before the contract was sent, Donaire had asked Mares’ side to put their money where their mouth was, in reference to the supposed 3 million dollar offer, Golden Boy has said they would offer Donaire’s services.
The contract was sent, and then released to the media. Let’s make a deal right? Except Arum and Top Rank vehemently shot down the contract and instead has decided to move forward with an April 13th date for Donaire in New York, possibly against Guillermo Rigondeaux. Now, while that fight is one that most want to see, the fight most in demand is the Donaire-Mares fight. One could say, while it might not be the biggest money fight, it probably is the most important in the sport today, in terms of relevance, fighters being in their prime, and two rival companies working together to make it happen.
Steve Kim of Maxboxing.com had written a few articles last week regarding the situation of Mares-Donaire. Kim joined us on ThaBoxingVoice radio last Thursday to share some of his insight. The Moral of the story according to Kim was the best chance of this fight happening is later this year and the public feud was not going to help make the fight either way.
“The timeframe that both parties have talked about, either April 13th or June 30th, wasn’t going to happen. Each fighter probably takes an interim fight and then maybe in the fall, the fight takes place. It’s positive that at least both sides are talking; it seems both fighters want the fight. It’s positive that there is dialogue and that there was a contract sent over. But it’s never good when things like this become as public as it is, almost like a political campaign like it’s gotten with Pacquiao-Mayweather like a smear campaign,” Kim explained to ThaBoxingVoice.com
While this fight is important, it is nowhere near the level of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight that still has not been brought to fruition by the two promotional companies involved, Top Rank and Golden Boy. While Mayweather-Pacquiao fight still is probably the biggest fight that could be made and the posturing in those negotiations is understandable to an extent, there’s still no fight. It’s something to be said on the other hand, that these two companies can’t come to an agreement to on a smaller scale, especially if both fighters’ want the fight, as they have both stated they do.
At the end of the day, the onus falls on the networks-HBO and Showtime, who play the biggest hand in buying the fights. Steve Kim further explained this in detail.
“Showtime is almost exclusively Golden Boy. Top Rank feels that they’re banned from Stephen Espinoza’s Showtime. If you look at Donaire’s last fights, they have also been on HBO. So the networks are acting like de facto promoters or at least co-promoters, so they’re vested into this business and to these fighters. As long as these guys can make good money not fighting each other, this fight may not happen. It’s just like Pacquiao-Mayweather, everyone said this fight needed to happen but last time I checked, they were making 20-40 millions dollars a fight not fighting Mayweather or Pacquiao. This specter of these two companies working together is ‘seeing is believing’, and whether one jumps ship to go fight the other is another thing. I got it on good authority that Abner Mares’ contract doesn’t come due ‘til 2014. “
Donaire made somewhere in the rage of 3 million dollars last year of HBO’s dime and in all 4 of his fights, he was no less than a 3-1 favorite. But even so, if the 3 million dollar offer was true, then he would have made double in this fight against Mares than he has in any other fight in his whole career. So why didn’t Top Rank and Donaire jump at fighting Mares, in a fight where Top Rank wouldn’t be on the hook for anything and Donaire likely being a 2-1 favorite?
Kim explains, “There was a contract but people who are in the business that have done business with both parties that there are significant flaws in the contract that should not be accept by Top Rank. One of the largest loopholes was there was not actual guarantee payment of the 3 million and that was sticking point to Bob Arum. Even so, there’s nothing that should be holding Top Rank back to say we have an issue with this here and try and hash out a deal.”
More of those same said loopholes can be found in this link here: http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-soapbox—feb-1-2013
Whether the loopholes are true or not, it did seem like Donaire and Top Rank were fine with just disregarding it and going ahead with their April date on HBO against the rumored opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux, who is reportedly going to make over $750,000 in that fight, If Rigondeaux is getting that much,, Donaire is likely going to make 7 figures again. While some may say Rigondeaux may be the tougher fight, the sentiment remains the same. If they can make money a ton of money fighting other guys like Mayweather and Pacquiao have been doing for years now, why would they, Donaire and Top Rank, be in a rush to fight Mares and work for Golden Boy?
There is none, at least from what it seems. While the Mares’ side did their best to make it seem like they wanted the fight, the analysis of the contract may seem otherwise. At the end of the day to revert back to Kim’s point, it’s on the onus of HBO and Showtime to pressure promoters into making the best fights and the fights the fans want to see. If not promoters and fighters will continue to keep taking the easiest route to the most money because it’s just human nature.
This allows fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to avoid each other and make every excuse not to fight each other while being paid handsomely to fight others. Of course the promoter-network allegiance doesn’t solve anything either.
The popular notion that once Bob Arum bows out and his heir apparent Todd DuBoef will be more willing to work with Golden Boy may seem farfetched as Kim explains it. “Todd Duboef, he learned this business from Bob Arum. The same type of thought process that bob has, Todd has. But I don’t think once Bob steps down that 10 fights we want to see involving Top Rank and Golden Boy are automatically going to happen.”
The most revenue generating fight available between Pacquiao and Mayweather has lost most of its luster with both fighters seemingly declining from their peak and the peak of the fight being in 2009. While the biggest fight was never made at the right time, one can hope that the most important one right now can be made before its too late.
For Audio of the Steve Kim Segment click here: http://thaboxingvoice.cogito24.com/lucas-matthysse-willie-nelson-delvin-rodriguez-steve-kim-tha-boxingvoice-radio-t-v/9442