NEW YORK – Junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire says he will not be attending Thursday’s planned press conference in New York to announce a fight with WBA titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13 due to Rigondeaux’s refusal to submit to additional drug testing with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency Association (VADA).
Donaire (31-1, 20 knockouts) of San Leandro, Calif. by way of Talibon, Philippines, made the announcement via his Twitter account that he has yet to sign a contract for a fight against Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) of Cuba and won’t be pursuing the fight until Rigondeaux submits to the testing.
“I am not going to New York City for the presser this Thursday because ‘Rigo’ is backing off his agreement to VADA drug testing,” said Donaire. “Rigo’s team verbally agreed to VADA testing both online and in negotiations. But now that the contract to start testing is in front of them, they are finding every excuse not to sign and delay the start of the testing.
“I have not signed my fight contract yet to fight him so I have no obligation to fight only him. It disappoints me that top fighters these days run from everything that will hold professional boxing integrity to its highest standard. I will be looking into other opponents with my manager Cameron Dunkin.
Last year, VADA changed the way people viewed state-regulated testing procedures in boxing when respected champions Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson failed tests administered by the independent agency. Currently, Donaire is the only professional boxer who submits to VADA on a year-round basis.
Gary Hyde, who manages Rigondeaux, tells The Ring that his client has not refused the VADA testing, and will meet Rigondeaux tomorrow in New York City to sign an agreement to submit to VADA testing.
“Rigo has not refused to take VADA testing,” said Hyde. “I am meeting Rigo tomorrow in New York at which point I will give him the VADA agreement which has been presented to me today in Spanish. I asked that the agreement be in Spanish so that Rigo would know exactly what he is signing off on.
“While Rigo has been tested for 13 years as the world’s leading amateur I wouldn’t expect there will be any problem signing up for the VADA testing. All the excuses are out of the way now and Donaire should just sign the contract and give the boxing fans all over the world the fight they deserve. I would hate to think that Donaire is avoiding us again and making up ludicrous stories which have absolutely no foundation.”
Donaire, 30, won world titles at flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight before moving to 122 pounds last year. In 2012 he won four world title fights, including THE RING Magazine title at junior featherweight, earning him the distinction as the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year.
Rigondeaux, 32, is now based in Miami after defecting in 2009. He won Olympic gold medals in the bantamweight division at the 2000 and 2004 Games.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.