December 19 Fight With Emmanuel Rodriguez Off
The virus strikes again. CBS Sports.com has reported how “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire has tested positive for the coronavirus and that his scheduled fight with Emmanuel Rodriguez, for the vacant WBC bantamweight title on Dec. 19 is now off. This match-up replaced a fight between Doniare and Nordine Oubaali, but Oubaali tested positive for Covid himself; the WBC then making him “champion in recess,” and sanctioning the Donaire-Rodriguez contest. Now the bad news has come again. Of course, the main thing is the health of Donaire and Oubaali and we all hope both men make a full and swift recovery.
Donaire and Rodriguez both faced Japanese “Monster” Naoa Inoue not too long ago, Doniare losing a thrilling 12 round battle on points, Rodriguez falling victim to Inoue’s withering punching power inside just two rounds in a WBSS contest. Donaire was hoping to defeat Oubaali, then replacement foe Rodriguez, and get himself a return fight with Inoue. Now Donaire will have to concentrate on recovering from the virus and then take a look at what options he has next year. The 38 year old showed he has quite a lot left to offer in the Inoue war last November. At 40-6(26), Donaire has had a long and hugely successful career yet the fire still burns. Nobody has tested Inoue as hard and as fiercely as the former multi-weight world champion managed last year. The Rodriguez fight would have told us whether or not the Inoue fight was Donaire’s last great one.
This year, we have seen a multitude of big fights fall through due to the coronavirus. It really has been a tough year for a good many fighters. The good news for this weekend is how WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua has tested negative for Covid, and his long awaited IBF mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev is on. As upsetting and annoying as it is that Donaire has lost his fight (or fights), it really would have been a massive blow if Joshua tested positive ahead of the Pulev fight – a fight that is already taking place a couple of years or more after it was originally supposed to go down.
The year end boxing schedule is still pretty thick (this barring no more postponements/cancelations due to the coronavirus), but for many fans, that Donaire appearance was one to look forward to. Can Donaire bounce back next year? Let’s hope he can indeed. For now, we still have Joshua-Pulev, Canelo-Callum Smith, Gennady Golovkin Vs. Kamil Szeremeta and one or two more big fights to look forward to, before we can put the year 2020 firmly in the rear-view mirror! 2021 will hopefully prove to be an entirely better year, for boxing and for the world.