This Saturday Night: Nonito Donaire vs Guillermo Rigondeaux

WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (31-1) will step into the ring to unify his championship with WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0). This championship showdown is scheduled to air at 10:00 PM (CST) on HBO.

Last year, Nonito Donaire was considered by a significant majority as the “Fighter of the Year”. He secured wins over Wilfredo Vasquez Jr, Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge “El Travieso” Arce. I liked Donaire-Mathebula the most (I didn’t see the Vasquez Jr. fight) of his 2012 fights despite the fact that Donaire was fighting in a rather one-dimensional manner. It seemed like Donaire was just trying to score a big KO and swinging away with power shots, which led to a highly competitive match that featured Mathebula landing a volume of punches. Truth be told, I had a difficulty time scoring the fight, trying to weigh a large volume of punches (Mathebula) vs not too many punches but much more powerful (Donaire).  One judge ended up giving Mathebula only one round, which I found to be absurd. I scored it for Donaire but I think I gave Mathebula at least four rounds. The Donaire vs Nishioka fight was a bore (especially after an undercard that featured Rios vs Alvarado I), but at least Donaire put him away in the 9th round so we didn’t have to go to decision.  Donaire vs El Travieso was just what the doctor ordered, and featured Donaire destroying him in three rounds and retiring the quirky, past his prime Mexican.

The last time we saw Rigondeaux, the two time Olympic Gold Medalist, was against Roberto Marroquin on the Martinez vs Chavez undercard. He got rocked at one point but it was mostly a one sided fight. Rigondeaux scored two knockdowns and used really great defense throughout the fight. It wasn’t exciting but he looked like a high level fighter and fought with such grace. He was set to face Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym on the undercard of Donaire vs Travieso. Unfortunately, it was revealed that Poonsawat had AIDS and the fight was cancelled. It was a really awful situation and I felt so bad for Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.

On Saturday night, it is very likely that we could see an action-less fight (that’s putting it nicely!). But I’m happy that these two are finally fighting one another. We often thirst to see the two best fighters in a weightclass fight one another. Since Abner Mares can’t find Donaire, this is the next best thing. Who knows, maybe Rigondeaux really is the best super bantamweight in the world. His defense and boxing really is world class, and I’m interested to see who walks away as the better fighter on Saturday night.

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