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Donaire defection to Golden Boy a matter for mediator

Nonito World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire was announced Wednesday as the newest member of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions stable.

Donaire's prior promoter, Top Rank, isn't letting go of the Filipino product who has looked so sensational in consecutive knockout triumphs in December and February.

While Golden Boy Chief Executive Officer Richard Schaefer says he's looking at a May date for Donaire, Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum said he has Donaire under contract for at least another year and is taking the matter to the referee in the ongoing Top Rank-Golden Boy war, mediator/retired judge Daniel Weinstein.

"We have a valid contract and there's an anti-poaching provision in our arrangement with Golden Boy, so Judge Weinstein will have to adjudicate that," Arum said Thursday. "Our contract prevails."

Donaire and his advisors have previously said Top Rank failed to provide him a sufficienct number of fights or money, thus compromising the promotional contract. Golden Boy's Schaefer said he stood behind Donaire.

Arum, who previously contended he fulfilled Donaire's contract requirements to "offer" the fighter three bouts a year, says the timing of when Donaire's Top Rank contract expires has been altered by the fighter's past hand injuries, which led to six-month and four-month suspensions by boxing regulators.

"By that, we're just starting our third year with him; there's been no breach," Arum said. "We'll clear this up. He'll probably come back into our fold."

Arum is planning a May bout on HBO featuring Donaire, but the fighter was said to have signed an "exclusive, multiyear agreement with Golden Boy" in Wednesday's announcement.

Arum defended Top Rank's decision to leave Donaire off the prior undercards of fights with countryman Manny Pacquiao, explaining Pacquiao -- a co-promoter of his own fights -- wanted to "attract another audience" and have more Latino fighters on a Pacquiao card rather than Donaire.

Donaire's camp, including his wife, Rachel, have said they were displeased by that decision.

Arum maintained Donaire is risking being kept out of the ring in legal limbo.

"This will require patience and will go on for quite some time," he said.

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Muhammad Ali asks Iran to free U.S. hikers

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Nonito Donaire of the Philippines gets ready for an official weigh-in at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino February 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

 
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