MANILA, Philippines – If only Manny Pacquiao could decide for his fellow Filipino champion Nonito Donaire Jr., he could have asked "the Filipino Flash" to stick with Top Rank Inc.
Pacquiao, who is also the congressional representative for Sarangani province, is aware of the tug-of-war between Bob Arum’s Top Rank and Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) over the promotional rights of Donaire.
“Para sa akin, kung ako ang nagdesisyon, mas mabuti kung nagstay siya sa Top Rank (If I were to decide, he should have stayed with Top Rank),” the 8-division champion told abs-cbnNEWS.com a day before flying to the US.
Pacquiao, the most lucrative fighter in Arum’s stable, thinks Top Rank is the better promotional outfit than GBP.
He, however, admitted that the Filipino Flash is old enough to decide for himself and therefore has the final say on his career path.
“Nirerespeto ko ang desisyon ni Donaire (I respect the decision of Donaire),” said the boxer-congressman.
Donaire, the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion, is supposed to fight on May 28.
However, this might not push through given the legal dispute between Top Rank and GBP.
Donaire, who fought under Top Rank for nearly 3 years, signed up with GBP last March 16 after declaring himself a free agent.
Arum, however, said the “Filipino Flash’s” contract with Top Rank remains valid until June 26 this year. He added that the deal has a “12-month extension" clause at Top Rank’s sole discretion.
This prompted Arum to challenge GBP before a legal arbiter, who later ruled in favor of Top Rank.
Pacquiao himself was embroiled in a similar controversy in 2006 when he signed up with GBP.
De la Hoya allegedly presented Pacquiao a suitcase filled with $250,000 as a signing bonus for joining GBP’s stable. The offer was made shortly after the Filipino’s 3rd-round knockout victory over Mexican toughie, Erik Morales.
However, Arum asserted that Top Rank had a legal claim over Pacquiao, citing their contract with the Filipino champ remained in effect.
Later, Arum announced that Pacquiao had returned his signing bonus to GBP and stayed with Top Rank. This prompted GBP to file charges against Pacquiao and Top Rank.
In 2007, De la Hoya’s GBP agreed to settle their case with Top Rank under mediation by retired federal judge Daniel Weinstein.
Top Rank was awarded the Filipino's promotional rights but was ordered to give GBP a percentage of Pacquiao's fight revenues.