Friday, 1 April 2011

Round One in battle over Donaire goes to Top Rank

Posted by chardyboy on Friday, April 01, 2011 0 comments

source:By Bob Velin, USA TODAY

Weinstein, a retired superior court judge in California, enjoined Golden Boy from promoting Donaire, the WBC and WBO bantamweight champion, for the remainder of Top Rank's promotional contract with Donaire. 

Golden Boy, the company started by former boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, had signed Donaire, 28, on March 16 after the "Filipino Flash" declared himself a free agent.

"We are pleased with Judge Weinstein's carefully considered decision," Daniel Petrocelli, Top Rank's attorney, said in a statement. "Top Rank hopes it can put the lawyers and legal fight behind it and return to doing what it does best — promoting the most talented boxers and the most entertaining boxing matches in the world today."

Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum said Wednesday that even without two long suspensions that Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) was given by the Nevada Athletic Commission because of hand injuries, the three-year contract that was signed June 26, 2008, including a one-year extension, doesn't expire until June 26, 2012. The suspensions extend it until about mid-2013.

The contract calls for three fights a year, but Donaire's injury suspensions prevented that from happening, Arum said. 

Donaire's stunning second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19 made him a sought-after fighter, and Arum said he and HBO had agreed to a May 28 date for Donaire's next fight before Donaire declared himself a free agent. Arum said if Donaire came back this week, that date could be saved.

Arum believes Donaire's unhappiness with Top Rank stems from another pretty good fighter in the company's stable.

"I'm not a psychiatrist, but the problem was Manny Pacquiao," Arum said. "He's a Filipino, Donaire's a Filipino. He was envious of Pacquiao, who was the No. 1 fighter in the world. They kept wanting to put Donaire on one of Pacquiao's cards, and Manny, who shares in (Top Rank's) revenue, and his people said, 'Why put another Filipino on the card? Get a Mexican or a Puerto Rican.' 

"So I can't put Donaire on a Pacquiao card if Pacquiao feels he's not adding anything to the card. That was a course of complaint, particularly with Donaire's wife. If a partner says don't do it, and he's logical in what he says, then you don't do it."

Weinstein's jurisdiction in the squabble comes as a result of a settlement between Golden Boy and Top Rank in a 2007 case involving the rights to Pacquiao.

He had signed contracts with both Golden Boy and Top Rank, and they sued each other. They agreed to let Weinstein arbitrate, and he ruled Pacquiao belonged to Top Rank but said Golden Boy was entitled to a percentage of profits from Pacquiao's fights.

Neither Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer nor Donaire's manager, Cameron Dunkin, would comment on the current case when reached by phone. Schaefer, in Mexico City on business Wednesday, said he would leave it to his lawyers to do the talking.

Arum said he has not talked to Donaire recently, but if he did, he would tell him this: "Come back, finish your contract, we're not going to punish you. We'll negotiate up from the minimum purses. You established something in beating Montiel, so you're entitled to more than the minimum, let's get on with your career. We'll get you (the opponent) everybody agrees on, and then, when the contract is up, if you want to go to Golden Boy, or Lou DiBella, or anybody, you're free to do so. That's what a free agent is. You don't make yourself a free agent." 

Arum said if he were Donaire, "I'd set up a meeting with Top Rank, review the situation and make the best deal possible. We offered him $500,000 for the May 28 date. We never intended to keep him at the minimum.

"If (Dunkin) would put Donaire back with us, we'd treat him just like every other major fighter we have. There would be no retribution. He made a mistake. He jumped ship. He's back, let's go. Let's see what we can do for him for the rest of his contract.

"Life's too short to be poaching other people's fighters. There's more than enough talent out there."


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