Donaire calls off Casimero fight

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. said yesterday his unification fight against WBO titleholder JohnRiel Casimero at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson City, Los Angeles County, on Aug. 14 is off but kept the door open for it to happen under certain conditions.

It was actually Donaire’s camp that broached the idea of a showdown with Casimero and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) arranged it through promoter Tom Brown. Casimero was originally set to face regular WBA ruler Guillermo Rigondeaux but Donaire was a more attractive option, coming off a spectacular knockout win over Nordine Oubaali to wrest the WBC crown last month. Things got sour when Casimero began to defame Donaire’s character following insinuations that Quadro Alas avoided drug-testing procedures of VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) and the WBC. Casimero took it personally and a war of words spilled bad blood all over social media. Even Casimero’s Mexican strength and conditioning coach Memo Heredia got involved in the crossfire. Donaire never mentioned Heredia in any of his posts but the coach presumably felt alluded to and came out with an Instagram video disrespecting Donaire’s wife Rachel. What was supposed to be pure boxing hype turned out to be an ugly, heated verbal and visual exchange.

Casimero said he has complied with VADA and WBC drug-testing paperwork and is ready to be tested anytime. Donaire disputed it, insisting the documents haven’t been filed. Assuming Casimero is cleared by VADA and the WBC, will Donaire agree to still fight as scheduled? The fly in the ointment is a recent announcement by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum that Donaire doesn’t need to go through Casimero to book a rematch with super WBA/IBF king Naoya Inoue. Since Inoue is under contract with Top Rank, Arum said he can arrange Donaire’s next fight to be against the Japanese Monster. 

Donaire said Arum’s offer has nothing to do with his withdrawal from the Casimero bout. “I’ll fight anybody, anytime, anywhere, you know me,” he said. “I’ve actually prepared a fight plan for Casimero with Rachel and we’re confident it won’t last very long. I can’t tell you what round it will end but I’m giving him a plane ticket back to Manila. Right now, I’ve got all the options and Casimero doesn’t. I’ll call the shots. I don’t need this disrespect. We’re two Filipinos. I want an apology from Casimero for disrespecting my family and my wife. I don’t want to be involved in a circus. We called off the fight the other day. We’re in a professional sport. We don’t need these personal attacks. If Casimero has nothing to hide, then he should get tested, that’s all it is, and I want that apology. Remember, we made this fight happen in the first place.”

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons, representing Casimero, said he refuses to be pulled into a squabble that isn’t an issue to cancel the fight. “As far as we’re concerned, the fight is on,” he said. “Casimero has complied with all the requirements. In a few days, we’ll get confirmation from PBC and Tom Brown. At the moment, Casimero is training, getting ready for this big fight.”

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