By Chris Robinson
This past Friday night the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas staged a fight card in one of the most unique settings I have seen on the Boulevard pool deck overlooking the strip. Sitting ringside covering the action, with camera in tow, was none other than reigning WBC and WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, who has been experimenting with his role of a photographer in recent times.
During a quick break from the action I caught up with Donaire and got his take on a few stories in the sport, the first being this weekend's Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley WBO welterweight title fight at the nearby MGM Grand. Pacquiao is a heavy favorite heading into the contest but Donaire seems to feel that his Filipino brethren will have his hands full with his 39-year old counterpart.
"That's going to be a hell of a fight," Donaire claimed. "I think Pacquiao is going to get it. Mosley is going to try to do his last hurrah. I think that Mosley, he can still bring it out there. He still has the speed and the power, definitely. But I think that Manny has this incredible speed as well as power. And Mosley is a tough fighter but I see it as speed and offensive for Manny Pacquiao all the way through for a unanimous decision."
Donaire electrified the masses this past February when he starched Los Mochis' Fernando Montiel inside of two rounds to claim the two titles he now holds. That virtuoso performance left many pondering a possible move from Donaire up to 126 pounds, where such matchups with WBA champion Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez were fantasized.
Lopez, of course, suffered a shocking upset a few weeks back as rugged Mexican Orlando Salido stopped him in the eighth round of their bout in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Donaire concedes that the loss was something he never saw coming.
"It was shocking," Donaire continued. "With Juanma, he seemed to have a problem with guys coming in if he can't take them down and that was Salido. He did it. But I don't do too much talking because that's just Juanma, ya know?"
At the moment a potentially huge fight in the sport seems to be hanging in the balance as WBC and WBO junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley has seemed to refuse a payday of 1.3 million dollars for a July showdown with WBA champion Amir Khan. I asked Donaire if he thinks we will see that fight come off and what exactly Bradley's motives might be.
"It's just negotiations," said Donaire. "I think a lot of fights can be made if promoters can get a long together, if they can negotiate where everyone is happy. But I think when you are talking about money, fights can happen."
Moments prior to speaking to Donaire I had talked to trainer Roger Mayweather, who told me that his nephew Floyd could be returning to the ring near the end of summer. Mayweather has been inactive for over a year now, with many thinking he won't fight again, and I asked Nonito if he thought we would see him again.