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Arum Hopes Donaire-Vazquez Ignites Unofficial Tourney

By Jake Donovan

The writing was on the wall the moment it was revealed that Nonito Donaire was struggling to make the bantamweight limit prior to last October’s defense against then-unbeaten Omar Narvaez – his reign would be short-lived, with a leap to 122 in his immediate future.

Less than four months later, Donaire (27-1, 18KO) makes his debut in a division that is suddenly bursting with potential for great matchups at every turn.

At stake in this weekend’s showdown between Donaire and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (21-1-1, 18KO) is a vacant 122 lb. belt, in a bout that serves as the co-feature to a middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Marco Antonio Rubio. Both bouts will air live on HBO from the Alamodome in San Antonio (10:00PM ET/PT), marking the network’s first boxing offering of the 2012 season.

Awaiting the winner of the co-feature - if promoter Bob Arum has his way – is the opponent of his choosing in a loaded 122 lb division, which will be well-represented on both sides of the ropes on Saturday night.

Rumored to be on hand at ringside for this weekend’s vacant title fight will be four-division titlist Jorge Arce and current unbeaten 122 lb. beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both are within the promotional realm of Top Rank (Arce co-promoted by Promociones Zanfer).

That this weekend’s bout is for a vacant title is in no small part thanks to Arce, who relinquished the crown he won from Vazquez Jr. last May in favor of pursuing a belt at 118. The wildly popular Mexican slugger was successful in doing just that, taking a wide decision over Angky Angkota in their rematch last November, capturing a belt that was in fact made available by Donaire just one week prior.

Part of the agreement in Arce (59-6-2, 45KO) giving up the 122 lb. belt he held for all of six months was that he would receive a crack at the winner of this weekend’s co-feature.

There’s still the matter of his winning a rematch with Lorenzo Parra in their non-title fight later this month, having fought to a 10-round draw with the former flyweight champ less than 18 months ago. Providing he emerges victorious, Arce will serve as a key figure in the upcoming 122 lb. sweepstakes, a motivating factor for enjoying a ringside view for this weekend’s action.

Emphatically announcing his presence is Rigondeaux (9-0, 7KO), argued by some as the greatest amateur of all time. The Cuban southpaw is rapidly making his mark in the pro ranks, recently shutting down Rico Ramos en route to a 6th-round body shot knockout to win his first major belt.

Watching from afar will be top-rated 122 lb. titlist Toshiaki Nishioka, who will take in the action from the confines of his home in Japan. The 35-year old southpaw has won 16 straight, including standout performances against Jhonny Gonzalez (TKO3) and most recently against former two-division champ Rafael Marquez (UD12) last October in Las Vegas.

The bout with Marquez served as the main event of Fox Deportes’ ‘Top Rank Live’ series, and left a lasting impression on Bob Arum. Nishioka’s lofty ranking is also enticing enough to have Donaire call him out, hoping for a spring showdown.

No matter who is lined up next for the winner, it’s clear that Top Rank is anxious to begin mixing and matching a series of fights, any number of which will prove rewarding to the boxing public.

“There’s going to be a convention of sorts at 122,” noted the Hall-of-Fame promoter. “There’s great, great matches to be made at the 122 lb. division.”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Swazye510 on 02-03-2012

[QUOTE=garfios;11740441]7:08 you will c the body punch.[/QUOTE] Held his head [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/x5xixu.png[/IMG] Punched him in back of his head [IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/k46rsm.png[/IMG] Thats a foul

Comment by Swazye510 on 02-03-2012

[QUOTE=frosty-g;11740134]you evidently don't know what a rabbit punch is.[/QUOTE] He grabbed his head downwards and punch him in the back of his dome. The ref and the announcer saw it. He should be DQed Thats a foul and ref should…

Comment by garfios on 02-03-2012

[QUOTE=Swazye510;11740007]I guess you havent been watching, he dazzed him with a rabbit punch, the ref didn't give him time to recover and he hit ramos in the body. START AT 7:07[/QUOTE] 7:08 you will…

Comment by garfios on 02-03-2012

[QUOTE=Swazye510;11739873]Rigo after Ramos, He pratically beat Ramos with a rabbit punch[/QUOTE] You r FOS, before the head grabbing Rigondeaux landed a vicious left hook to the body, that was the one that did the trick and that's why Ramos wanted…

Comment by frosty-g on 02-03-2012

[QUOTE=Swazye510;11740007]I guess you havent been watching, he dazzed him with a rabbit punch, the ref didn't give him time to recover and he hit ramos in the body. START AT 7:07[/QUOTE] you evidently don't…

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