Will 2011 be the year of the ‘Filipino Flash’?

Nonito DonaireBy Kevin Wrigley: There are a few scheduled fights this year which have captured boxing fans attention such as Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander and Wladmir Klitschko vs. Tomasz Adamak (which is as good as signed apparently). The first true super fight of the year is a clash between a boxer in most pound for pound lists and the other has been knocking on it for a while. This is the fight between Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel. Before I look into this I think it would be prudent to look into Donaire’s last few years inside of the boxing ring.

Despite having a strong amateur career Donaire (currently at 25-1, 17 by KO) did not turn pro with that much fanfare. Indeed he would not have been on most boxing fans radars until he signed to fight IBF and IBO reigning flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan in 2007. Donaire took it upon himself to hurt the man who had previously beaten his brother (Glen Donaire) and that was what the fight seemed too hyped around. Donaire surprised the fans and the bookmakers with a perfect textbook left hook in the 5th round which sent Darchinyan to the floor.. Darchinyan had been doing well in the fight and was clipping Donaire with some powerful southpaw lefts. His awkward crablike style seemed to offset Donaire and confuse him. However it was eventually detrimental- Darchinyan was caught with the left hook when leaning into a punch as only he does. After this impressive knockout win (which earned Donaire both knockout of the year and upset of the year as well as the brace of titles) fans were clamouring to see him again.

Since that win 3 and a half years ago Donaire has gone 7-0 (6 by KO) and has moved up to the super flyweight division and has stopped at bantam weight. However it’s hard to imagine the 5 foot 6 Filipino staying at this weight class. As some interviews suggest we may be seeing a weight drained Donaire until he settles down at around 126 pounds. But still what a Donaire we have seen so far. Its rare casual boxing fans know the names of guys below the lightweight division. Yet boxing fans are now seemingly aware of brilliant talents such as Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire. This interest has meant he has been on big stages often, yet unfortunately often he is playing second fiddle to a bigger main event. The reasons for this are obvious- there are no real natural rivals to challenge him. That is why I believe he is knocking on the door of being placed into a pound for pound list and not already there. Noticeably at flyweight he could have faced of against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. As a super flyweight there was Hugo Cazares. But that’s about it seemingly. Not a lot to pick from. He has beaten some good fighters such as undefeated Raul Martinez, an old Luis Maldonado and former champion Volodymyr Sydorenko. Good wins but not opponents fans should be shouting about in reality. It’s the way he’s been winning; he’s looked sensational in most fights.

Yet on the 19th February Nonito Donaire will be facing a completely different animal. Fernando Montiel (44-2, 34 by KO) will present a huge challenge for him on paper. Personally I fell Donaire is too strong, too powerful, too big and to quick for Montiel. However a Montiel win should not be considered a shock at all, he doesn’t hold two title belts for nothing. If Donaire were to win what would 2011 bring for him? As it would be early in the year you would expect at least one more fight, with one hopefully at the end of the year. What are the best options for him? At 118 there is a lot of talent to pick from. A rematch with Vic Darchinyan would not be as tasty as it would a few years ago when Darchinyan looked unbeatable. Joseph Agbeko is taking on Abner Mares for the IBF strap while old foe Darchyinan is taking on Yohnny Perez. Both are happening in mid April. After this they will all be free. Fans would love to see Donaire take on either winner, especially the winner who has won both fights in the tournament be it either Agbeko or Mares. That later on in the year would be an excellent clash of styles, especially if it’s the brilliant Mares who prevails. If that’s not an option for whatever reason up at is long time reigning WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Or how about Wilfredo Vasquez Jr the WBO super bantam weight champion? After Vasquez he beats up Jorge Arce (in what could be a fight of the year) he would be free later on in the year. If Donaire beats Montiel he certainly has a number of options to look at. If he faces any of the above opponents mentioned, 2011 will definatly be the year of the ‘Filipino Flash’.

Article posted on 27.01.2011

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