Nonito Donaire vs. Abner Mares is a fight that boxing fans have wanted to see for quite some time now. It's a great matchup between two talented fighters that's almost guaranteed to be a great action fight.
However, due to the ongoing Cold War between promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank, the fight has yet to come to fruition.
A couple of days ago, Golden Boy, via Boxingscene.com, released a copy of this contract, which specifies everything from gloves to meal stipends to airfare. In other words, it's a legitimate legal document that's offering Top Rank $3 million for the services of Donaire for just this one fight.
It puts Top Rank and Donaire in a tough position, especially if they don't want the fight.
If they turn the fight down, Golden Boy and Mares now have the ability to say that they sent a real, big-money offer to Top Rank—an offer that was even hand signed by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, only to have it rejected for seemingly no reason.
There's no fight out there for Donaire that will make him even close to the amount that he'll make fighting Mares. And it's a fight that—if it's staged in California—will draw considerable public interest and a large live gate as well, further increasing its lucrativeness.
So, with a contract in place and with Donaire and Top Rank looking like they'll rebuff once again, the question has to be asked: Is Donaire afraid of Mares?
Why else would he and Top Rank turn down such a big offer?
I think that on a personal level, a fighter-to-fighter level, Donaire isn't afraid of Mares. Mares is a terrific fighter, but Donaire has tons of experience and has been up against top fighters before. It's unlikely for this reason that he fears Mares.
What's more likely the case is that it's a combo of Bob Arum not wanting to do business with Golden Boy and his fear that Donaire—one of his biggest-money fighters—could potentially lose and cost him a lot of money down the line.
A lot of Top Rank's top-earning boxers have lost recently, such as Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and Juan Manuel Lopez, just to name a few. Arum probably is afraid to risk another top fighter of his losing, which would hurt his earning potential.
Hopefully, they'll come to their senses and make the fight.
But as we've seen in boxing, what makes sense for the fans isn't always necessarily the choice that the promoters ultimately make.