By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, inside of the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire scored a 9th stoppage over former titlist Toshiaki Nishioka while Brandon Rios carved out a 7th round TKO over Mike Alvarado in an electrifying co-feature.
Taking in the action from ringside, HBO analyst Max Kellerman shared his thoughts with me on the evening’s proceedings shortly after the action had wrapped up.
“Brandon’s going to make great fights for the rest of his career,” Kellerman would say of the all-action Rios, who saw his record rise to 31-0-1 with 23 knockouts with his official move up to the junior welterweight class. “Unless you put him in with a guy who is going to try to stink him out, he’s always going to make a great fight.”
Donaire may not have had the same blood and guts approach towards his fight as did Rios, but he was able to floor a reluctant Nishioka in the sixth round with a beautiful left uppercut while finishing him off three rounds later as a counter right hand dropped him and seemed to take the wind out of his sails.
In Kellerman’s eyes, Donaire’s performance spoke volumes.
“Amazing,” Kellerman answered of Donaire, who sees his ledger move to 30-1 with 19 knockouts with his third outing in 2012. “Nonito doesn’t get enough credit for totally dominating world-class fighters who sometimes are just showing up to survive, and he’s still dominating them.”
Kellerman then elaborated on his appreciation of Donaire, who he undoubtedly sees as one of the sport’s finest.
“I like Donaire, pound-for-pound, even more than other guys do,” stated Kellerman. “Let’s see Floyd the next time out; Floyd is still number one. And then, for that second spot, there’s some competition now.”
On most lists, eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao firmly holds onto the second position but Kellerman feels that Donaire, as well as WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who is coming off of a thorough destruction of Chad Dawson last month, are on his heels.
“[Andre] Ward and Donaire, they’re both putting pressure on Pacquiao,” said Kellerman.