By Danny Howard | March 24, 2011

Stop me if you've heard this one: A guy fights another guy, who happens to be a highly-regarded, pound-for-pound fighter, and everybody seems to be anticipating a tough fight. Instead, the fight is over before you know it after a quick shot renders the champion unconscious, leaving a star in the making headed for the sure road to superstardom. What ends up happening, however, is said fighter doing some promotional housecleaning, thus leaving himself in limbo for the next four years until another big chance comes his way. That, in a nutshell, is the career of Nonito Donaire as we know it.

Donaire has once again found a way to cripple his career after winning a standout fight, this time making the switch from Top Rank to Golden Boy Promotions. As a legal battle for Donaire looms, it is clear that he is going to be in a losing position regardless of how this turns out. This isn't about Richard Schaefer or Bob Arum questioning whether or not the manner in which Donaire's wife dresses affects his standing with the Filipino public. This is about Donaire dealing a critical blow to his development.

When he knocked out Vic Darchinyan in 2007, Donaire was under contract to Gary Shaw. Following the Darchinyan win, he jumped ship to Top Rank, where he thought he could follow in the money-filled footsteps of Manny Pacquiao. Problem was that the only fight that was available for Donaire to make big money in was a rematch with Darchinyan, but Shaw, who promotes Darchinyan, spurned Donaire for his disloyalty and that fight never happened.

From the time he beat Donaire all the way up until last February's frightening KO of Fernando Montiel, Donaire was stuck on undercards against spoon-fed stiffs courtesy of Top Rank. He was being developed as slowly as a kidney stone. Darchinyan, on the other hand, was winning titles and getting big time fights from Shaw that Donaire thought he couldn't bring to the table.

That clearly wasn't the case for Top Rank, who was ready to get Donaire on TV and get him the exposure that he wasn't receiving years prior to the sensational win over Montiel. Donaire wasn't too happy that he wasn't going to be making seven digit purses right away, so he jumped ship to rival promoter Golden Boy, who seems to have a thing for stealing Filipino fighters from Top Rank.

I don't know what Donaire is thinking, but all of Golden Boy's top fighters are trying to jump ship because of the promotions inability to secure fights for them. Shane Mosley didn't think Golden Boy could get a fight with Pacquiao made, so he jumped ship and got the fight himself. Now, Juan Manuel Marquez may be leaving as well for the exact same reason. Donaire left the team that had the plan to join the team that had no idea.

Donaire's options with Golden Boy pretty much boil down to hoping and praying Abner Mares beats Joseph Agbeko next month because that is the only fight they can make that would generate any interest. Outside of that, he'll have to settle for smaller purses because Golden Boy relies heavily on co-promotions to do business, whereas fights with Top Rank would've netted him big money fast.

With Top Rank, he had the chance to fight Anselmo Moreno, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. at 122, and Joseph Agbeko, should he beat Mares. If you were to look further down the rabbit hole, then maybe Juan Manuel Lopez or Yuriorkis Gamboa would be waiting at 126, but instead he went to the promise of bigger paydays with lesser fighters at Golden Boy.

The worse case scenario for Donaire is that should Top Rank win the lawsuit and not forfeit Donaire's contract, Arum is going to punish Donaire's insubordination by giving him meaningless fights, or even making him sit on his contract until it expires. Donaire has wasted enough time fighting the Hernan Marquez's and Wladmir Sidorenko's of the world to be idle, but that is exactly what will happen if he goes back to Top Rank.

In the end, this isn't anybody else's fault but Donaire's, and I can only wonder who told him that this business transaction would go off without a hitch. It's said that a great fighter can make adjustments in the ring to better themselves and ensure their longevity in a sport where longevity is oh so sparse. In the case of Donaire, maybe some outside adjustments could've saved him from single-handedly ruining his career, which he seems intent on doing.

It shouldn't surprise anybody should it happenÂ…we've already seen it before.

Danny Howard can be reached on Facebook and Twitter (@DBHoward126) and can be contacted anytime at

MAY 23, 2019
MAY 22, 2019