Nordine Oubaali is having visa issues and won’t defend his WBC bantamweight strap against former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire on December 12th as originally planned.
So instead, Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs)) will take on the recently knocked out former IBF 118-lb champion Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant WBC bantamweight title on December 19th. In the meantime, two-time Olympian Qubaali has been demoted WBC champion in recess.
Whoever emerges as the Donaire vs. Rodriguez fight winner will take on the unbeaten Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) in a title defense.
While it might be upsetting to a small handful of hardcore boxing fans that the 37-year-old Donaire isn’t fighting Oubaali, it won’t matter to the casual fans who have never heard of him.
Oubaali isn’t exactly a household name in the U.S, so it’s no big deal that he’s having visa issues. Besides, the 34-year-old Oubaali looked terrible in his last fight, beating Takuma Inoue by a 12 round decision last November.
The way that Oubaali fought, Donaire will destroy him when the time comes for them to fight.
Interestingly, the World Boxing Council will have #4 WBC Emmanuel Rodriguez as the opponent for Donaire to fight for the vacant WBC 118-lb title because he’s coming off a second-round knockout loss to Naoya Inoue last year in May 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Rodriguez, 28, had the chance to redeem himself last year in November against former WBC 118lb champion Luis Nery, but he chose not to take the fight when Nery came in one pound over the limit. Some boxing fans think Rodrguez didn’t fancy the fight, so he pulled out rather than taking on the dangerous Nery.
It’s too bad Rodriguez didn’t stick it out because he really needed the Nery match to make fans forget his second-round knockout loss to Inoue. It was telling that Rodriguez chose not to stick it out and fight Nery after being overweight by one pound.
Donaire should have little problems beating Rodriguez. This is a very winnable fight for Donaire, who is coming off a grueling 12 round decision defeat to Inoue last November in Saitama, Japan. That was a fight in which both Donaire and Inoue were hurt. Inoue escaped with the win but suffered a busted nose, fractured eye ridge, and a bad cut.
Just based on the difference between the performances by Donaire and Rodrguez against Inoue, Nonito should have little problems beating the Puerto Rican fighter.
It would have been better if the WBC ordered Donaire to fight an arguably more worthy opponent like Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai. Donaire vs. Rungivisai is a much better fight than Donaire-Rodriguez, which is quite poor given how easily Inoue destroyed Rodriguez.
Before Inoue blasted out Rodriguez, he defeated Paul Butler by a 12 round unanimous to win the vacant IBF 118lb title in May 2018. In Rodriguez’s only successful defense of the IBF title, he squeaked by Jason Moloney in beating him by a 12 round split decision in October 2018.