by James Slater – Tentatively scheduled for August 22nd in San Francisco, California (date and venue to be confirmed), is a fight that will see one of boxing’s brightest lower-weight stars moving up a few pounds in attempting to capture his second world title. Hero of The Philippines Nonito Donaire (second only to Manny Pacquiao when it comes to popularity in the country) is the fighter, and it looks like he will challenge Puerto Rico’s Jose Lopez, as he tries to take the 37-year-old’s WBO super-flyweight title..
Donaire, nicknamed, of course, “The Filipino Flash,” has emerged over the past few months as a genuine star in the making. A fabulous fighter who really burst onto the world scene with his brutal KO of fellow lethal puncher Vic Darchinyan, the once-beaten 26-year-old is fast approaching his very peak – if he hasn’t reached it already. Grabbing the IBF flyweight championship with the July 2007 KO of “Raging Bull” Darchinyan, Donaire now wants to follow the Armenian fighter’s lead and move up the weights. This looks like starting on Aug. 22nd, when “The Flash” takes on Lopez; a man who has never tasted a stoppage defeat as a pro.
As tough and experienced as Lopez is, though, he will really have to go some to remain a fighter who has never been put to sleep when he meets Donaire.
Looking excellent and extremely powerful as he did last time out, when he despatched a then unbeaten Raul Martinez inside just four-rounds, Donaire will start a pretty big favourite over the WBO 115-pound champ; even if he will be taking his first fight in a new weight class.
Lopez, a pro since November of 1991, is currently 39-7-2(32), and, as these stats show, he has some punching power of his own to go along with his durability and good chin. Four failed attempts to win the WBO flyweight title came quite early in Lopez’s career – with Alberto Jimenez, Carlos Salazar, Isidro Garcia and Fernando Montiel all winning unanimous decisions over him (Lopez managed to deck Montiel) – but since then Lopez has remained unbeaten. It was in his most recent fight – in March of this year, against Thailand’s Pramuansak Posuwn – that the 37-year-old finally managed to become a world champion. Is his reign destined to be a short one?
Lopez and Donaire were spoken of as possibly meeting each other back in March of this year, but eventually Lopez met the Thai fighter he out-pointed instead. Now the two men are again set to meet. Who will win?
Though he is moving up to the defending champion’s weight class, Donaire will have no height disadvantage; instead he will have a one-inch advantage in height. Both men can punch and both men want to remain at the top. Lopez has already proven he has carried his power up in weight with him, but there is little to no doubt Donaire will be as hard and accurate a puncher up at 115 as he was at 112. True, Lopez has yet to be stopped, but there is always a first time. The action could well prove to be memorable in August, and a hard fight for both men may ensue.
However, due to his youth, his speed, his accuracy and the power he carries in both hands, Donaire must be made favourite to win. A quick KO really would be a statement. I go for Donaire by late rounds stoppage instead.