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DONAIRE: “RIGONDEAUX IS A GREAT FIGHTER BUT HE STILL NEEDS MORE EXPERIENCE IN THE PROS”


PhilBoxing.com




NEW YORK –B.B. King Blues Club along West 42nd in Times Square was the venue for the Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux presser in this city, with their bout scheduled to take place in Radio City Music Hall in April 13 and will be televised live over HBO World Championship Boxing.

Luncheon for members of the media started around 11:30am and the actual presser started around 12:40pm as Top Rank honcho Bob Arum took the stage.

There was no shoving, shouting or pushing involved -- usually reminiscent in the heavyweight division -- that some expected during the presser for a fight this magnitude, but the “silent” animosity between the two fighters is obvious.

Donaire was seen looking on the Rigondeaux’s side of the dais while Arum was introducing the head of Caribe Promotions, a co-promoter. The Cuban had an adviser whispering near his left ear, probably translating everything in Spanish so he could understand what is going on.

Gary Hyde (Rigondeaux’s manager) fired the opening salvo when he was called onto the dais to speak.

“Nonito has been avoiding a confrontation with Rigondeaux and he is saying he is not on his radar. Nonito, I can tell that you are on Rigondeaux’s radar and on the 13th of April, he will beat you and get your titles. Then he will enter the sport’s pound-for-pound top 10.”

When it was time to speak, the fighters were careful in their choice of words. Donaire spoke in a minute, 35 seconds while the Cuban dynamo took his turn in 1 minute, 15 seconds with a designated translator since he spoke in Spanish.

It was like they would have preferred to have their fists do the talking on April 13. No ifs, no buts.

“There will be few surprises in April 13, this 2013 in general. We will go forward and work hard. Thank you everyone for coming here,” the Cuban Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO) expounded.

The Filipino Donaire (31-1, 20 KO), who was recently named as Fighter of the Year by the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), was polite as well on his turn but mentioned an observation that raised some eyebrows at his opponent’s table which included Pedro Diaz, Rigondeaux's mentor in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics in which he had won 2 gold medals campaigning as a bantamweight.

“Thank you HBO for featuring me on all four fights last year, thanks to Top Rank for always having my back and giving me good fights.”

“I respect Gary Hyde’s comments earlier on that radar hype. I say Rigondeaux is a great fighter but I believe he still needs experience and he had to prove that on April 13. Their team believes in their fighter and I believe in myself so it will be a great fight,” added the Filipino-American widely-regarded as the next torch-bearer for the Philippines once the great Manny Pacquiao retires.

This author also asked Brian Schwartz, Donaire’s strength coach, on any update on Donaire’s camp and he said everything’s coming along very well. “We started training last week and Nonito is looking good. Sparring will be next week and we will start slow in 4-5 rounds, then build up as the camp goes on. It will be an interesting fight.” Asked of their potential game plan against the Cuban, he said his Team is watching a lot of the opponent’s tapes at this juncture.

If indeed there was a little drama for this match-up, it could have been before the presser. There have been news reports early this week that Donaire won’t be flying to NY for the Thursday press conference if Rigondeaux does not sign the contract for Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) tests. So far, Donaire is the only professional boxer undergoing year-round testing with VADA.

I looked for Cameron Dunkin, Donaire's manager, and confirmed if all’s good and the Cuban has indeed signed all the pertinent papers. “I am actually holding a copy right now. Rigondeaux signed this morning, in fact before this presser started. So everybody’s happy and the fight’s a go,” Dunkin said.

In its 82-year history, the Radio City Music Hall will host a second fight in Donaire-Rigondeaux. Roy Jones Jr. fought there first versus David Telesco in January 2000.

Oliver Iglesias lives in NJ with his family but takes the train everyday for work at Manhattan, NYC. He is a former contributor for Digitaljournal.com. You could view his previous articles at http://www.digitaljournal.com/user/182731/news

Photo: Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux pose during a press conference held at BB King Blues Club to announce their upcoming fight on April 13, 2013 to be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Caribe Promotions, Tecate and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Donaire-Rigondeaux world championship event will go on sale This Saturday! February 23, at Noon ET. Tickets, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $35, will be available for purchase at the Radio City Music Hall Box Office, Madison Square Garden Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com, www.radiocity.com and www.thegarden.com --- Photo: Tom Briglia/ Top Rank.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Oliver Iglesias.


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