How Backroom Drama and a War of Words Now Threatens this World Bantamweight Unification Showdown
Boxing fans were so hopeful as it pertains to the bantamweight division. On June 19, WBC World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs), and WBO World bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) agreed to an August 14, 118 pound unification bout, live on SHOWTIME. Now, it seems the fight is not happening.
That is because Donaire says he is withdrawing from the fight due to drug testing procedures. He is also enraged over what he feels is blatant disrespect by Casimero and his team. The WBC champion explained his stance via extended social media post.
TAKE THE TEST
Here’s the crux of Team Donaire’s beef. He and his camp were frustrated with efforts to get Casimero to agree to Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) drug testing for the fight. They feel Casimero’s camp was not forthright and didn’t act in good faith about the matter. Even though the WBO champion ultimately agreed to VADA testing on June 26, Team Donaire said they canceled the fight after a five-day delay filing the paperwork from representatives for the WBO champ.
As the WBC champion, the fighter nicknamed “The Filipino Flash” could have settled and gone along with the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program. Their program does random testing each month. On the other hand, VADA is much more stringent. They go through strict testing on an everyday basis through a boxer’s training camp.
Donaire, along with his wife/trainer/manager Rachel, insisted on using VADA. On June 26, VADA announced that both fighters agreed.
MUCH DEEPER ISSUES
However, upon further inspection, this was some underlying beef all along. The drama over testing has resulted in a back and forth between both camps that became quite ugly. Within his released statement, Donaire touched on how his wife has been on the receiving end of misogynistic rhetoric from those within Casimero’s team. Things came to a head when on his Instagram Live, the WBC World titleholder confronted one of the Casimero’s handlers during a heated June 29 exchange.
If Donaire stands his ground and the unification bout with Casimero is indeed off, it would be a big disappointment. Fans were looking forward to the fight. It had all the potential to be one of the best fights of 2021.
You would think that this all could be settled by going to war in the ring. Here is hoping that cooler heads will prevail, and this all-Filipino showdown will go on as scheduled.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.