Super-Bantamweight Super Fight
Saturday 13th April 2013 – Radio City, New York City, USA – Live on HBO 9pm ET (USA) & BoxNation 3am (UK)
This Saturday night sees the eagerly anticipated match between the two best Super-Bantamweights in the world – WBO champion Nonito Donaire vs. WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Let’s start by taking a look at each fighters profiles:
TALE OF THE TAPE
Nickname: Filipino Flash
Stance: Orthodox (can box Southpaw as well)
Height: 5′ 5½″
Record: 30-1, 20 KOs
Achievements: Reigning WBO Super-Bantamweight Champion; Former IBF Super Bantamweight, WBC and WBO Bantamweight, Interim WBA Super Flyweight and IBF Flyweight Champion.
Considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world
Nickname: El Chacal (The Jackal)
Height: 5′ 4½″
Record: 11-0, 8 KOs
Achievements: Reigning WBA Super-Bantamweight Champion; 2 x Olympic Bantamweight Champion; 2 x World Amateur Bantamweight Champion
Considered the greatest amateur boxer of all time
Make no mistake about it, this fight has all the ingredients to be Fight of the Year. Filipino, Donaire, is seen as the heir to Manny Pacquiao’s throne as the top Filipino boxing superstar, and winning this fight could help him gain the notoriety he deserves to the wider boxing public; the WBO king is already considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and well known to be an exciting, deadly, switch hitter, who can box orthodox or southpaw. That ability could well come in useful against southpaw Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux, himself, is considered one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time, if not the greatest. But this is professional boxing, and although he has 8 knockout wins in his 11 fight perfect pro career, it will interesting to see if he has the power to de-stable Donaire; a man known for his good footwork.
Split Decision rankings panel member, Jenkins South, echoed these sentiments with his thoughts on the contest,
“Donaire’s footwork is the key to this fight in my opinion, he is very adept at using angles to create openings for his shots, and from a couple fights I have watched of Rigondeaux, he is open for a left hook, Nonito’s best punch. I expect a tactical fight for the first three or four rounds, after which Nonito takes over and stops Rigo in six or seven rounds. Being the best amateur does not mean you are the best pro, and Nonito is certainly one of the best professionals of his era.”
Mick Craven, another member of the panel, has also made his predictions for the fight,
“Donaire on points for me. Quicker hands, quicker feet and too good. [Rigondeaux] top 10 [pound for pound] but Donaire number one in my opinion. 116-112″
It’s hard to argue with those points, Nonito has to be the favourite going into the fight; but that’s not to rule Rigondeaux out, although the Cuban has only competed in 11 pro bouts and this will be his biggest test by far. Donaire has fought plenty of top level competition, most recently destroying Jorge Arce in 3 rounds last December. Meanwhile, won on points against Roberto Marroquin in his last outing, back in September.
Rigondeaux will look to use his best counter punching skills to deal with the aggressive, fast and powerful Donaire. We know what he did as an amateur, but Rigondeaux will want to prove that he’s just as great as a pro and his chin will likely be tested on fight night.
Donaire’s speed can, however be matched by Rigondeaux, but the Filipino is known for a higher work rate. He will need to be careful, not be over aggressive and win rounds by using that high work rate, but if he is over zealous and careless, he could fall into a trap.
All in all, my prediction is Donaire fighting a clever fight, making use of his height and reach advantage, and ultimately being too much for Rigondeaux and winning by Unanimous Decision.