COMMENTARY | Golden Boy Promotions has apparently stepped up efforts to make a Nonito Donaire-Abner Mares title unification bout by putting up $3 million of their own money.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer recently took negotiations to the public by revealing his company's money offer to the boxing media.
"I think both fighters, Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire, deserve to make the most money in this fight. And I am willing to put up an offer, to Bob Arum, to provide the services of Nonito Donaire," Schaefer told Rick Reeno of Boxingscene. "I am willing to offer them $3 million dollars. I will pay Top Rank $3 million dollars, and I don't know what kind of deal they have with Donaire...probably a 50-50, so [Arum] can pay Donaire $1.5 million and he can make $1.5 million, but I don't care how they split up the $3 million."
According to Schaefer, the contract was drawn up and then sent to Top Rank's legal counsel Friday afternoon.
However, before fans get too excited about this apparent turn of events and the prospect of a high-octane junior featherweight battle between the two elite-level fighters, the Donaire side of the fight is downright doubtful of the whole deal.
Speaking through his verified Twitter account, WBO Champ, Donaire would flat-out accuse Golden Boy of lying about the offer:
"TODD DEBEOUFF [Top Rank President] HAS NOT RECEIVED ANYTHING AND HES SITTING AT HIS DESK ....Did ya'll send it to the water boy at Top Rank or what????"
Donaire would go on to demand to see a copy of the contract or a screen cap of the email in which the contract was reportedly sent. None of his demands were acknowledged and, according to Donaire, not even his manager, Cameron Dunkin, knows anything about this $3 million offer.
The Donaire-Mares unification is regarded by hardcore fight fans as one of the sport's dream fights, but has been considered a lost cause due to the current promotional turf war between Golden Boy and Top Rank. WBC 122 lb. champ, Mares (25-0-1, 14 KOs) is with Golden Boy while Donaire (31-1. 20 KOs) is one of Top Rank's hottest properties.
According to reports, preliminary discussions had been going on between the two sides, but never went beyond Top Rank CEO Bob Arum's unwillingness to share promotional billing with the rival promotional firm. A token offer, described as "low ball" by Schaefer, was sent from Arum to Team Mares, but the money was nowhere near enough to make the fight a reality.
Schaefer, at the very least, is now going all-out with his apparent desire to make the bout by taking his case to the public:
"We are not asking for any options, not asking for anything besides this fight," Schaefer told Dan Rafael of ESPN. "We will treat Top Rank with respect. They can hang their banner up at the press conferences and the fight, we'll have the fight be announced 'in association with Top Rank,' we'll give them library rights to the fight. All that stuff. No catch weights, no bullsh*t. This is a serious offer. I am anxious to know what kind of excuses they will come up with now...If Arum and Donaire go and do another fight, it means they don't want the fight because they can't make the money in any other fight than what they can make with this offer. No strings attached. I swear on my kids there is no catch here. This is as straight forward as can be."
Whether the Golden Boy offer is legit or not, the ball is now in Top Rank's court. Call the bluff, take the offer, and give the fans the fight they want to see. Anything else will result in a serious public relations hit to Nonito Donaire's reputation.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Rick Reeno, Golden Boy Sends Donaire-Mares Contract For $3 Million, Boxingscene
Dan Rafael, Golden Boy offers $3M for fight, ESPN