After much legal wrangling, Nonito Donaire plans to return to boxing this October following his signing of a four-year contract extension with Top Rank.
Donaire has been idle since February after scoring a second round knockout of Fernando Montiel to win the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles. Two weeks later, Donaire shocked the boxing world by announcing he was leaving Top Rank for rival Golden Boy Promotions. Top Rank immediately filed suit, claiming their 2008, multi-year contract was still valid. The courts sided with Top Rank, leaving Donaire to return a $350,000 signing bonus from Golden Boy, and having to slowly repair a fragmented relationship with his original promoter. The feud cost both sides favorable exposure and money, as Donaire was unable to meet a proposed HBO date on May 28 to capitalize on his highlight-reel victory over Montiel.
“I’m very happy and pleased to announce a recent reconciliation between Top Rank and myself and I am also extremely excited to announce that I will be back in the ring this coming October,” Donaire confirmed.”There were some details that required attention and I feel confident now that my professional goals are being understood and respected by Top Rank.”
An opponent has not been named for Donaire’s proposed October bout. In March, Top Rank was in preliminary talks for a unification match with Anselmo Moreno. The winner of Showtime’s August 13, bantamweight finals matchup between IBF titlist Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares will be viewed as Donaire’s marquee matchup for early 2012. Whatever matchups are made, Top Rank president Todd duBoef is confident Donaire will build on the Montiel KO that had many experts citing him as one of the top Pound 4 Pound fighters in the world.
“We are thrilled to move forward with Nonito, his team and capitalize on what we have built together,” duBoef told ESPN. “Nonito has unlimited ability and charisma, which was on display in his last thrilling performance against Fernando Montiel. A bright future lies ahead for Nonito and Top Rank.”