Earlier this month when Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions announced their plans for multiple championship bouts in March, including a pay-per-view event that could possibly be held here in the Old Pueblo and feature Tucson native, WBO Featherweight Champion of the World Oscar Valdez, it made a splash. The fight world buzzed with chatter and then a huge fly swatter squashed it.
World class fighter Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was offered the chance to fight for the WBO, 126 lb title. Arum looked to put Donaire against Valdez. Preferably, here in Tucson, where Valdez was raised. Donaire, who lost his super bantam weight crown to Jessie Magdaleno in November, was offered a rematch with Magdaleno, if he were to beat Valdez for a chance to become a two division champion.
Nonito Donaire, forefront. Wife Rachel Donaire and their child, background.
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Donaire essentially told the fight world to pump their breaks.
In a statement released through his officially verified Facebook account, Donaire offered a long and descriptive reason why he would rather wait until the fall to take on Valdez.
To put it simply, Donaire sites that in his experience he had mistakenly fought at 126 in the past not knowing that most fighters who weigh in at 126 usually walk around at 140 on fight night. He continues by saying that he normally walks around weighing 133 at most, when not training and that he would need to add on muscle and fight a tune up fight. Donaire then says that he would need to feel comfortable with the added weight before he commits to fighting Valdez. Two months, for Donaire, is simply not enough time for him to put on the muscle he feels he needs to be at his best.
My take: Mr. Donaire, ignorance is not an excuse for failures and losses at the professional and world class level. Still, the abundance of caution you have chosen to take when faced with the opportunity to take on Valdez is admirable and has merit. It shows wisdom and maturity, as well as a true sense of knowing where you stand among the best in boxing. Kudos for that. However, it feels and sounds like a swift and well articulated duck.
Where does that leave our home grown champ, Valdez? We had a chance to talk with “The King” last August when Michelle Rosado of Raging Babe Promotions brought him to the Casino Del Sol as a guest of honor during a Juan Diaz Solo Boxeo event. Valdez made it very clear to me that his aim is to unify all the featherweight belts. Valdez simply wants to fight the very best opponents out there in his weight class. He claimed, at that time, that potential opponents had already begun to avoid him.
Tucson fight fans may now be starting to see that for themselves.
Jose Roman Jr. was born a Wildcat fan, lifetime fanhood was solidified when he was able to meet Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Chuck Levy and Ontiwaun Carter as a sixth grader. Having served 10 years in the armed forces and been deployed all over the world, he’s still managed to make it to every Arizona home football game, bowl game and at least one away game for the last 12 years. Now combining his love of writing with his love of all things sports, Jose is proud and honored to join AllSportsTucson.com as a writer.