By Bradley Pearson: As the final bell sounded Saturday night in Madison Square Garden to symbolize the end of the fight between Nonito Donaire and Omar Narvaez it did so in concluding the Filipino fighter’s reign over the bantamweight division.
In his self proclaimed final appearance at 118lb’s, the 3 weight world champion, Donaire (27-1, 18 KO’s), saw off seasoned pro, Omar Narvaez, in what turned out a rather bland fight in the “Filipino Flash’s” first outing on the east coast. It should be noted that the lacklustre 12 rounds wasn’t a reflection on Nonito, but rather that he had an opponent unwilling to exchange in front of him;- it takes two to tango, and the Argentine Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KO’s) it would seem, didn’t bring his dance shoes.
Many opponents have been name-dropped by ring observers and boxing journalists alike in the midst of Donaire’s planned move up in weight. Top Rank CEO and chief promoter of the current WBC & WBO bantamweight kingpin, Bob Arum, wasn’t shy in elaborating on his plans for Nonito in the post fight interview after the champions most recent defence- “Nishioka won’t be ready till May or June- maybe I can convince him to go in March. I’d like him [Donaire] to fight in March because the Filipino’s want Nonito over there in June, to fight a Mexican like Arce”.
Holding a 122 lb world title each, both Jorce Arce (58-6-2, 45 KO’s) and Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 34 KO’s) boast wins over a handful of credible opponents, and would certainly qualify as fan friendly fights. If Nonito was be able to get past both fighters in as little time span as 3 months, it would be regarded as a truly remarkable achievement.
However, Cuban amateur sensation, and 2 time Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, in this writer’s opinion at least, remains as the most dangerous fighter at super bantamweight, and arguably Donaire’s biggest threat to be found anywhere as high as 130 lb‘s. Despite having just 8 pro fights, Rigondeaux already holds the WBA crown- and already in his 30’s, the Cuban’s career is said to being ‘fast tracked’ by Arum, delivering him big fights as soon as possible.
No ‘fight night weight’ was projected by HBO Saturday night, but when asked post fight about what he weighed coming into the ring, Donaire claimed he was “130 [lb’s]”. If true, would suggest the ‘Filipino Flash’ could eventually even move up to featherweight- being just 4 lb’s over the 126 limit against Narvaez. Its even viable to imagine Nonito packing on a little extra muscle upon his relatively slender physical frame, and venturing as high as lightweight or junior welterweight- which would certainly seem achievable alongside such an experienced nutritionist like Victor Conte whom the champion currently works with.
It’s exciting times ahead for boxing fans, what with the exhilarating pool of fighters in and around the 122-130 lb ranks. The majority of which, all under the Top Rank promotional banner- Donaire, Rigondeaux, Arce, Gamboa, Lopez, Russell Jr, John, etc- which would eliminate any potential dispute between promotional kingpins Golden Boy & Top Rank, in the ‘cold war’ situation that has plagued the sport over the last few years.
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