NEW YORK CITY—Nonito Donaire Jr. is now well entrenched in the millionaire boys’ club with a paycheck worth “well above a million dollars” for his world super bantamweight title unification fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba this weekend.
Bob Arum, big boss of Top Rank which promotes Donaire’s fights, told the Inquirer that the 30-year-old Filipino is getting more than the $1 million (about P41 million) he received fighting Jorge Arce in Houston last December.
Sources said the paycheck is $1.25 million. Rigondeaux is also getting a career-high purse of $750,000.
“Nonito is getting well over a million dollars,” Arum said during the fight’s final press conference at the Theater of the Madison Square Garden. “I’m not gonna make up a number because I can’t remember what number we have agreed on.”
The sweet-talking promoter predicted that, with the different styles of both fighters, the 12-round fight will end in a decision, not a knockout as everyone expects from a Donaire fight.
“I think it’s going to be a very, very good fight,” Arum said. “It will probably go into decision. It’s going to be difficult for either guy to knock the other one out, because of style.”
Donaire said Rigondeaux might think he is “vulnerable right now after winning Fighter of the Year awards and now (with) a baby coming, but it’s going to be the best Nonito ever.”
Donaire engaged Rigondeaux in a staredown that lasted about five minutes, drawing mixed reactions from media people who descended into Manhattan on this crisp, springtime morning.
In previous interviews, Donaire said he would go for a knockout, which he pulled off against Arce and Toshiaki Nishioka.
The Cuban counterpuncher could prove to be a hard nut to crack, though, because of his highly tactical style.
Boxing fans can “see a shift in power; there’s gonna be a revolution,” said Rigondeaux’s manager Gary Hyde, who predicted an end to Donaire’s 12-year, 30-fight win streak by knockout.
Benjy Esteves is the third man in the ring. The judges are Julie Lederman, Tom Schreck and John Stewart.