Nonito Donaire vs. John Riel Casimero fight in the works
By Matt Lieberman: WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire has restarted negotiations with WBO 118-lb champion John Riel Casimero for a unification fight.
The two were supposed to have fought recently. Still, the former four-division world champion Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) pulled out of discussions after being offended by the trash-talking done by Casimero’s side.
Negotiations have restarted between Donaire, 38, and Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs). However, Donaire’s adviser Al Haymon says Casimero has turned down the contest with Nonito.
Gibbons denies Casimero has rejected Donaire fight
Casimero’s promoter Sean Gibbons denies they’ve turned down the fight, saying they’re “working through issues.”
What is compounding problems for the Donaire vs. Casimero fight is the World Boxing Council ordering Nonito to defend his WBC bantamweight title against interim champion Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) next.
Fans would prefer to see Donaire fight Casimero, 32, then see Nonito take on Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs0, who looked terrible in winning a controversial 12 round split decision over Emmanuel Rodriguez last December.
Also, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is interested in setting up a rematch between his fighter IBF/WBA 118-lb champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue and Donaire. So, suddenly, Donaire has three options that he must decide on for his next fight.
Suppose the WBC is determined that Donaire defend against Gaballo next. In that case, Nonito will need to decide whether to take that lesser fight or vacate the title and face Casimero or ‘Monster’ Inoue.
“Richard Schaefer tells ESPN he was informed by Al Haymon that John Riel Casimero rejected a 118-pound title unification with Nonito Donaire. Sean Gibbons tells ESPN, “Nothing’s been rejected; we’re working through some issues,” said Mike Coppinger of ESPN.
Nonito destroyed WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali by a fourth round knockout last May. For some reason, the WBC is now in a hurry for Donaire to defend his mandatory despite him only recently capturing the WBC belt.
Casimero looked poor against Rigondeaux
For his part, Casimero defeated Guillermo Rigondeaux by a questionable 12 round split decision on August 14th in Carson, California.
Two judges were impressed enough with Casimero’s aggression to give him the decision by 117-111 and 116-112 scores. The third judge had it 115-113 for Rigondeaux based on his more precise, cleaner-landing shots.
Casimero’s aggression in the fight wasn’t practical, as following Rigondeaux around, missing shots, and getting picked off by hard punches throughout.
It was a poor effort by Casimero, and the match was too controversial to be viewed as a real victory for the Filipino fighter. It would have been wise for Casimero to have fought Rigondeaux in a rematch to prove to the fans that he’s the better fighter, but it’s not surprising that he chose not to.
Rigondeaux showed he’s the superior fighter than Casimero, and he would likely get the better of the Filippino fighter again if they fought.
- Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire 2 rematch on ESPN+ on June 7th
- Naoya Inoue battles Nonito Donaire on June 7th in Saitama, Japan
- Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire 2 possible for April
- Results / Photos: Donaire defeats Gaballo – photos & videos