Nonito Donaire a free agent after splitting with Top Rank

Ryan Songalia
'We're no longer under a promotional contract with Top Rank,' says Rachel Donaire

GONE IN A FLASH. Nonito Donaire Jr has parted ways with Top Rank, nearly 9 years after signing with the company. File photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire Jr has split with Top Rank, nearly 9 years after signing with the Las Vegas-based promotional company.

The news was first broke by Steve Kim and later confirmed to Rappler by Donaire’s wife Rachel and Top Rank vice president of boxing operations Carl Moretti.

Donaire (37-4, 24 knockouts), a 4-division champion and the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 2012, last fought for Top Rank in November, losing his WBO junior featherweight title on a unanimous decision to Jessie Magdaleno on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Jesse Vargas in Las Vegas.

“We’re no longer under a promotional contract with Top Rank,” said Rachel Donaire, who says that Nonito remains on “amicable” terms with Top Rank.

Donaire, 34, had previously been promoted by Gary Shaw Productions before signing with Top Rank in 2008. Top Rank seemed like the best fit to build the Filipino-American Donaire after they made a star out of Manny Pacquiao, and featured him on independent “Pinoy Power” pay-per-views before he made his HBO debut with a second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel to win the WBO and WBA bantamweight titles.

During his time with Top Rank Donaire fought in the U.S., Philippines, Macau and Puerto Rico, and headlined at Radio City Music Hall in 2013 against Guillermo Rigondeaux in just the second boxing event ever to take place at the iconic New York City venue.

The relationship was at times rocky, with Donaire signing with rival Golden Boy Promotions in 2011 only to have the deal nullified by in court.

Donaire revealed on his official Facebook page last month that Magdaleno had rejected his request for a rematch. Magdaleno is instead set to face Adeilson Dos Santos on April 22 in California on the same card that Oscar Valdez defends his WBO featherweight title against Miguel Marriaga.

Donaire had been offered in January to face Valdez on a date in March but Rachel Donaire tells Kim they turned it down because of insufficient notice.

“We’re free to come back at anytime. Of course with Valdez there that’s certainly an option, especially when Nonito tests the waters again at 126,” she said. – Rappler.com