Sometimes there are fights that both camps are interested in as well as the public and media that just don’t work out. Nobody did anything wrong, nobody should be blamed and there are no hard feelings on either side.
Junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg against former titleholder Nonito Donaire is such a fight.
Quigg promoter Matchroom Boxing and Top Rank, Donaire’s promoter, were in talks for Donaire (35-3, 23 KOs), a former four-division titleholder, to travel to the United Kingdom (or Dubai, in a far less likely scenario) to challenge for Quigg’s secondary 122-pound belt on Nov. 21.
But the reality is that Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KOs) would much rather continue pursuing a fight with titleholder Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs) of Northern Ireland. It’s a fight far more in public demand, especially in the U.K., and is undoubtedly worth way more money than Quigg-Donaire.
So even though Quigg/Matchroom have no particular issue with a Donaire fight, they’d rather work on a Frampton fight.
"We held talks with the Donaire camp, but our priority remains Carl Frampton,” Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN.com on Monday. “I have meetings with Frampton’s team this week, and I really believe that we can close on that fight. If we can't, then Scott is more than happy to fight Nonito, but while we are in these kind of negotiations for Frampton, I'm just not going to commit to that fight just yet."
Top Rank’s Bob Arum was very understanding. He said when he was on vacation in England last month, he met with old friend Barry Hearn, Eddie’s father and head of the business, for dinner.
“We came out with an arrangement to do the fight, but Barry told me he had to still discuss it with the fighter, and the fighter obviously prefers a fight with Frampton,” Arum told ESPN.com. “So that’s what he’s pursuing. No problem. They didn’t mislead us. Barry and I go back a long, long way.”
Arum said even without a Quigg fight, Donaire would fight again this year. He has already boxed twice, scoring second-round knockouts in his return to junior featherweight against lesser competition as he looked to bounce back from being knocked out and losing his featherweight belt to Nicholas Walters last October.
“We will get Donaire another fight this year, and then we’ll look to see if we can make the Quigg fight next year,” Arum said. “We’ll get Donaire in the ring, pay him what he’s supposed to get paid and one way or another we’ll fulfill it.”
Arum said HBO has “a little interest” in Donaire’s next fight.
“I don’t want to put them on the spot. They were interested, but not necessarily committed,” Arum said of HBO, which has televised several Donaire bouts but neither of his 2015 fights, both of which took place overseas [his native Philippines and Macau].”
Arum said with HBO committing to putting Walters on a Dec. 12 card (opponent to be determined), he has also proposed that HBO put Donaire on the same card against Mexico’s Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13 KOs), who has won four fights in a row and sits No. 1 in the WBO’s ratings with Donaire No. 2. He said Juarez promoter Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions, Top Rank and Donaire are all willing to do the fight.
“We’d like to do it for the interim title,” Arum said. “If we can land a date on HBO, Donaire will fight in America. If not we’ll have him fight in Philippines or China.”