122-POUND SUPER FIGHT ANNOUNCED: DONAIRE VS. RIGONDEAUX IN NYC
Press Release: 2012 Fighter of the Year and WBO 122-pound champion Nonito Donaire and WBA 122-pound champion and former two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux will collide at New York City's Radio City Music Hall to determine the true world champion at 122 pounds. [Editor's note: Donaire previously had the IBF title and should have had the WBC title by defeating Toshiaki Nishioka, who was corruptly stripped in order to give Abner Mares a WBC title, but Mares has since vacated anyway, so there is no disputing this fight is for the true world championship at 122 pounds].
The bout will take place Saturday, April 13th and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
This also marks only the second time Radio City Music Hall has ever hosted professional boxing in its 82-year history. The first fight was the Roy Jones Jr. vs. David Telesco light heavyweight world championship on January 15, 2000.
"The battle between the 2012 Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire against one of the greatest Olympian fighters of our time - two-time gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux - promises to be a boxing classic," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "It is fitting that this match is being held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City."
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 Saturday February 23rd and 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.
"Coming off a spectacular year, Donaire wanted to keep the momentum rolling in 2013," said Top Rank president Todd duBoef. "Fighting Rigondeaux at Radio City is the perfect combination. We are pleased that two of the most skilled athletes in the sport are reaching for their biggest challenges on April 13."
"I am delighted that Nonito Donaire has finally agreed to challenge the 122-pound division boss Guillermo Rigondeaux," said Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux's manager. "I think Nonito's confidence must have been boosted by his 2012 victories, but when he feels Rigo's power, from angles he has never been hit from, the doubts which have haunted him every time he hears Rigo's name will be there again, but it will be too late to avoid Rigo then. Nonito will certainly move weights classes after this fight but not in the direction he was planning. This kid is going back down to 118."
Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in the Bay Area of San Leandro, Calif., is a consensus top-five pound-for-pound fighter. He enters this fight riding a 12-year, 30-bout winning streak, with 11 of his last 15 victories coming by way of knockout . He is trained by 2012 Trainer of the Year and former world champion Robert Garcia. Donaire will be making his 2013 debut as the reigning Fighter of the Year. He enters this fight off a career-best year, winning four world title fights -- all televised live on HBO. He began his 2012 campaign on February 4, where he captured the vacant WBO 122-pound title, winning a gritty split-decision battle over former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. He unified the title on July 7, via a dominant unanimous decision over defending International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Jeffrey Mathebula. Donaire followed that victory with another legacy-making knockout -- a ninth-round stoppage of WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka on October 16, ending Nishioka’s eight-year, 16-bout winning streak. Donaire capped the year on December 15, blasting out Méxican icon Jorge Arce via a third-round knockout. Career highlights for Donaire also include knockout victories of defending IBF / International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan, in the fifth round, former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko, in the fourth round, and defending World Boxing Council (WBC) / WBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel in the second round, ending Montiel’s 25-bout winning streak while also claiming his third world title in as many weight divisions. That victory was named the 2011 Knockout of the Year.
Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs), of Miami, Fla., and now trained by Pedro Diaz, had a stellar amateur career, winning Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2000, World Amateur Championship titles in 2005 and 2001, and Pan American Games gold medals in 2005 and 2003, all at 119 pounds, before defecting from Cuba and embarking on a professional career which began in Miami in 2009. In only his seventh professional fight where both fighters scored knockdowns, Rigondeaux captured the WBA interim super bantamweight title, winning a tough split decision over the vastly more experienced former world champion Ricardo Cordoba in 2010. After successfully defending the interim title in 2011 with a first-round knockout of previously undefeated former European super bantamweight champion Willie Casey, Rigondeaux won the WBA world super bantamweight championship with a sixth-round knockout of previously undefeated defending champion Rico Ramos on January 20, 2012. Rigondeaux has successfully defended that title twice since then, blasting once-beaten Teon Kennedy in the fifth round, which included Kennedy suffering five knockdowns en route to the loss and winning a dominant unanimous decision over once-beaten contender Roberto Marroquin on June 9 and September 15, respectively.
"I'd like to thank the promoters and HBO for putting this fight together I think this is what the world wants to see the Top-Two boxers in the world in this weight class," said Rigondeaux. "This is what I came to America for. I decided to go with my old trainer Pedro Luis Diaz who helped me win two Olympic gold medals. Jorge Rubio is a great trainer he did nothing wrong I just thought for this fight I would go back to do the type of training that I've never done in this country. I feel stronger than ever. I think this will be a great battle Nonito is one of the top boxers in the world and a gentleman. I'm looking forward to getting in the ring with him. We are both at the peak of our careers. On April 13th the world will witness one of the greatest boxing exhibitions they've ever seen."
"See you on April 13, Rigondeaux," Donaire responded.
“Nonito Donaire enjoyed a sensational 2012 season and the boxing world has been eagerly awaiting his 2013 debut,” said Kery Davis, the senior vice president of programming, HBO Sports. “For Nonito to fight in the spotlight at Radio City Music Hall is a spectacular way to start the new year. While Guillermo Rigondeaux is making his HBO debut, keen boxing observers know this is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is one of the best fighters in the world and can handle the bright lights of New York. This will be night that boxing fans can truly enjoy a world class event.”
“Radio City Music Hall is an integral part of the fabric of New York City and has hosted a wide variety of memorable events and live performances from Sinatra to Lady Gaga, the Tony Awards and One Direction, who have all become part of the Music Hall’s great history,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We are thrilled to once more host championship boxing on the Great Stage of Radio City for what will be a spectacular night of boxing for all fight fans.”