Top Rank announced Tuesday that The Ring, WBO, and WBC Diamond super bantamweight champion “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire will battle WBA super bantamweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux in a unification bout on April 13 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The renowned entertainment venue hosted its only other prizefight in January 2000 when Roy Jones Jr. battered David Telesco to successfully defend the light heavyweight belt.
"There's no question that fighting at Radio City Music Hall is like a coronation for the fighter of the year, fighting on that historic stage," said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, 82, a corruptible weasel who acknowledged during a 2000 federal trial that he bribed the International Boxing Federation (IBF) to attain a higher ranking for one of his fighters. "We couldn't get the Theater [at Madison Square Garden] so [MSG executive vice president] Joel Fisher said maybe he could get Radio City, because the Garden owns it. We said that was a great idea. It's expensive to do a fight there, but it's worth it. "I think it's going to be a terrific fight. It's one I have wanted to see. These guys have been spouting off about each other for a long time and now it will be decided in the ring."
Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) was named the 2012 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) last month and the four-division king will be honored at an awards banquet in Gotham this spring.
After overcoming Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula and Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka, Donaire punctuated 2012 and won his fourth clash of the year by knocking Jorge Arce onto Queer Street in the third round of their Dec. 15 scrap at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Donaire, a Filipino-American from the Bay Area who is also a past IBF and IBO world flyweight titleholder, has emerged victorious in 29 consecutive matches since losing a unanimous decision to Rosendo Sanchez in his second professional contest in March 2001.
Comparatively, the 32-year-old Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs), a 2009 Cuban defector who earned gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics, most recently exited the squared circle as a unanimous-decision winner over Roberto Marroquin on Sept. 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
"I watched Rigondeaux's last fight with [Robert] Marroquin and he's pretty decent,” said Donaire, 30, The Ring’s fifth pound-for-pound pugilist who encourages year-round, random drug testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). “He's pretty good at countering, so I was getting excited about fighting him. It's a good fight. I look forward to taking that belt. That's my goal."
In a sport plagued with dope fiends, Donaire is simply all that is right with boxing both inside and outside of the squared circle.
However, as a supremely talented southpaw, Rigondeaux will prove to be an extremely difficult and taxing opponent for Donaire.
Despite the Cuban’s overwhelming physical tools, Nonito Donaire’s speed and power will eventually slow Guillermo Rigondeaux and then the Bay Area native will capitalize and score a late stoppage.