COMMENTARY | Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux has been set for April 27 in Las Vegas, with the WBO and WBA Super Bantamweight titles at stake, according to a report published on several online outlets. Donaire vs. Rigondeaux is an intriguing fight which many fans have been clamoring for, although it has been overshadowed by what stands as perhaps the best fight to make in the sport, Donaire vs. Abner Mares.
While Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) and Mares (25-0, 13 KOs) have each publicly called for that fight, they are promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy respectively, leaving negotiations for the dream match on a semi-permanent impasse.
It's a ridiculous state of affairs, and surely if the fighters put their feet down and their fists up in defiance, the fight would actually get made. Remember, promoters are supposed to work for fighters, not the other way around.
The good news though is that in place of Donaire vs. Mares, fans still get a juicy fight between two of the top three fighters at 122 pounds. It's not as big of an event, and the fight likely offers less in terms of potential entertainment value due to stylistic differences, but nevertheless, it's a match which everyone should be eager to witness.
Donaire and Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) are each in Top Rank's stable, which made this is an easier fight to put together. Still, it took close to a year to get it done.
Bob Arum had been trying to put the two men on the same cards in order to build up more interest in a fight between them. However, Rigondeaux's last fight, scheduled as the co-feature to Donaire's romp over Jorge Arce on December 15, was cancelled at the last minute.
Don't let Rigondeaux's lack of a lengthy professional resume fool you, he had ample on-the-job training as a longtime Cuban amateur sensation. He participated in more than 400 amateur fights and he's regarded as one of the best amateur boxers of all-time, with two Olympic gold medals and an array of world titles to his credit.
Rigondeaux will be a very difficult challenge for Donaire. Known as "The Jackal", he's a precise counter-puncher with fantastic reflexes and timing. Thanks to that wealth of experience, he's preternaturally calm and composed in the ring.
Donaire will therefore need to pick his spots carefully. He should have the edge in hand-speed, and certainly in power, but he has no margin for error against this type of opponent.
Still, "The Filipino Flash" was the 2012 Fighter of the Year for a reason -- actually for many reasons. He's extraordinarily gifted in his own right, and should be the athletically and physically superior man in the ring. He's also a more versatile fighter who has a number of different paths he could take in order to obtain a victory in the showdown.
Should Donaire emerge victorious, a fight against Mares would be even bigger than it is now, and perhaps fans could leave their fingers crossed that something would happen by the end of 2013.
Keep in mind that Top Rank and Golden Boy have recently seen hundreds of millions of dollars flushed down the drain from the failure to finalize a deal for a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight when it still would have meant something. As such, the two sides should at least be a bit more eager to come to an agreement instead of watching another big fight pass them by.
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
- Sports & Recreation
- Nonito Donaire
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Abner Mares
- Top Rank