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Bantamweight champ Donaire, Top Rank have differing opinion of contract

March 5, 2011 |  3:13 pm


World bantamweight boxing champion Nonito Donaire of the Philippines is coming off his most sensational victory yet, a second-round knockout of veteran champion Fernando Montiel last month on HBO.

Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) now says he's ready to parlay that performance into a bidding war for his services, claiming he'll be a free asgent from promoter Top Rank "in two months."

"It's a blessing," Donaire told The Times in a telephone interview Saturday from the Bay Area, where he was preaparing to board a flight to attend tonight's WBC junior-middleweight title fight pitting Saul "Canelo" Alvarez against Matthew Hatton at Anaheim's Honda Center. "I've waited and waited for my opportunity."

Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum disagrees, telling The Times on Saturday that Donaire is contractually bound to perform under the Top Rank banner until June 2012, and that Arum's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, has reviewed the contract and confirmed that's so after the promoter exercised his one-year option to Donaire after the Montiel victory.

Arum said Donaire is due in Atlantic City on May 28 for a bantamweight title unification bout against Anselmo Moreno (30-1, 10 KOs).

"It'll get it straightened out," Arum said.

Donaire, however, says Top Rank fell short of its promises to give him three fights a year in its three-year deal with him, and also irked him by not letting him fight on the same card as countryman Manny Pacquiao.

"Negotiations are in process, with whoever's out there," Donaire said, not shying from the not-so-subtle hint of attending tonight's bout promoted by Top Rank rival Golden Boy. "Now, there's a lot on my table. We have some rights to demand some money. [Top Rank] knew what I wanted, it's why I signed with them."

Arum argues Donaire, contractually, had to be offered -- not provided -- three fights a year, which Arum says happened.

Donaire said he expects to meet with his manager Cameron Dunkin tonight in Anaheim, "and see what he has for me." Arum expressed confidence the situation will be resolved.

--Lance Pugmire

Photo: Nonito Donaire connects with a right against Fernando Montiel during their January bantamweight title fight in Las Vegas. Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters