SAN DIEGO – October 13, 2012 – Nonito Donaire (29-1-0, 18 KOs), the “Filipino Flash,” is everything a fan’s fighter should be: accessible, talkative, entertaining, and active in the ring. When he wins big, there’s no more exciting fighter to watch. His destruction of Fernando Montiel at 118 pounds in February 2011 was a strong candidate for Fight of the Year.
But it seems like a similar paragraph has started every preview story of a Donaire fight since that knockout victory. Donaire has cranked out three rather labored, boring 12-round decisions since then. It pains me because he’s such a likable boxer and he makes it easy to root for him.
On tonight’s edition of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark,” Donaire goes up against the veteran Japanese champion Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) fighting at super bantamweight, 122-pounds. Nishioka has rarely fought outside Japan. A simple victory isn’t enough; most experts expect the 29-year-old Donaire to win over the 36-year-old Nishioka. Nishioka hasn’t fought in a year, and he’s expected to retire after this fight (and payday).
Nishioka hasn’t lost since 2004, including victories over Jhonny Gonzalez and Rafael Marquez. Donaire hasn’t lost since 2001. It’s got the potential to be a good matchup between evenly matched opponents at willing to work hard for a win. Donaire can help himself a lot with a convincing, crowd-pleasing knockout win here, versus a steady, by the CompuBox type of win.
Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux has been calling out Donaire; the winner of this bout will certainly get a shot at Rigondeaux, who just renewed his contract with Top Rank.
The undercard fight threatens to be the real star of the show tonight and the bout many fans are most eager to see, light welterweights Mike Alvarado (33-0-0, 23 KOs) and Brandon Rios (30-1-1, 22 KOs). It’s Rios first bout at 140 pounds, which is where he’s needed to be for some time. It’s a crowded weight division with many of boxing’s greatest names in the sport today including Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, and Amir Khan.
These two like to get it on, fast and furious. This will not be a tactical fight. Rios and Alvarado fall into the “warrior” class of fighters who will keep moving forward no matter what. They love to punch and they love to fight, and we love to watch them do it. Each is willing to take some damage to inflict damage on their opponent. I’m going with Mike Alvarado in this one. He’s more settled at this weight division and he appears hungrier than Rios.
Whoever wins is likely to get a shot early next year at one of the names listed above. Who wouldn’t want to see Danny Garcia and one of these guys early next year? But we run into the buzzkill situation between promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank. If Oscar de la Hoya and Bob Arum continue their refusal to play nice with each other, a Garcia-Alvarado fight is unlikely anytime soon. Fights the fans want to see aren’t getting made, and it’s ridiculous. Arum claims he’s willing to work with De La Hoya. It’s all talk until it happens.
But first things first, Alvarado and Rios are both gunning to win tonight’s bout with convincing style and power that gets fans excited about them. Comments about this fight being along the lines of a Gatti-Ward I or Hearns-Hagler are running wild. Is it a potential Fight of the Year? We should all be so lucky. It will be an entertaining fight to watch and it’s why we love boxing, right?
All the fighters made weight at the weigh-in Friday. Donaire stepped into the scales first and weighed 121.6 pounds. Nishioka tipped the scales at 121.8 pounds. Rios weighed in at 140 pounds; Alvarado made weight at 139.8 pounds.
HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” airs tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern / Pacific Time (7 p.m. on the West Coast if you get HBO East) from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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