Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Merchant Wonders if Donaire Can Be Effective Moving Up

By Chris Robinson

On February 19th of last year, Fil-Am star Nonito Donaire delivered one of the year’s more telling knockouts when he vanquished Los Mochis’ Fernando Montiel inside of two rounds at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The counter-left that first dropped Montiel was both chilling and calculated, the kind of punch that leaves those close to the sport talking for quite some time.

Speaking with Larry Merchant less than twenty-four hours after Donaire’s triumph, the veteran HBO analyst conceded that it was that particular performance that placed Nonito in a different class of fighter in his eyes and he seemed intrigued by what an eventual move up to the featherweight class could hold.

"I think it places him in the top level, in the elite level in the sport," Merchant would state of Donaire's victory over Montiel. "The question is, whether American viewers care about bantamweights. It's very rare that American fight fans have shown much interest in fighters in that weight class. He also showed that he has the kind of skill and strength that he could move up to the featherweight divisions."

A little over sixteen months later and Donaire is set for another high-profile showcase, as he will be putting his WBO junior featherweight belt on the line against South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula this Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Merchant’s expectations of the ultra-talented Donaire still seem to be high, yet there is also a little curiosity sprinkled in as to whether or not he will be able to deliver the kind of virtuoso displays that the public is anticipating from him.

“The narrative now is, can he live up to certain expectations?” Merchant said during our conversation on Thursday night. “Because he had a sensational knockout. Can he move up in weight and be as effective or as explosive as [Manny] Pacquiao was when he moved up in weight? That’s a narrative that’s still unfolding.

“I don’t know that he’s convinced everybody that he’s a top, elite primetime fighter yet,” Merchant stated candidly. “It’s a process that’s ongoing and he’s the kind of fighter you want to watch. How high is his high and whether or not he can go up the ladder and, for example, become a crowd-pleasing featherweight, where there are some serious opponents.”

While a move up to 126 would create a special kind of buzz, Donaire has shown interest in first cleaning out his own division before going on such a brazen endeavor. There are no shortage of worthy challenges in the junior featherweight class, including the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Toshiaki Nishioka, Abner Mares and even Mathebula, the man who will be staring Donaire straight in the eyes this weekend.

Hardcore enthusiasts run wild when thinking of such matchups yet Merchant can’t help but to ponder an eventual rise one division north, even admitting that it is the past achievements of Donaire’s countryman Manny Pacquiao, who went on a remarkable rise in weight late in his career, that factors into his though process.

“That’s intriguing about him,” said Merchant. “He has the body for it, he’s got the maturity for it, and if one of the reasons that there’s a lot of interest in him is because he comes from the same kind of heritage that Manny Pacquiao did, then there’s a natural curiousity about where can he go and does he add or inset more star quality into the featherweight divisions.”

READER’s NOTE: For an inside look at the world of boxing, including behind the scenes Pacquiao-Bradley coverage, exclusives from the Mayweather Boxing Club, videos with Bob Arum, Roger Mayweather, Roy Jones, Juan Manuel Marquez, Larry Merchant, Robert Garcia, Brandon Rios, Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia, and other stars, please subscribe to Chris Robinson’s recently-launched Youtube page at CRHarmony YouTube Page

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected], www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony, and www.Youtube.com/CRHarmony

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by UTEP on 07-07-2012

[QUOTE=MalikKnucklez;12309410]This. I don't see as dominant a run for Donaire at 126 or higher. We'll see how he fares against a bigger dude in Mathebula tomorrow. He looked pretty meaty (pause) at the weigh in and he was only 121.…

Comment by mathed on 07-06-2012

I like Donaire but I think he will really struggle in this fight. I still think he wins but it won't be a blowout, his body just doesn't have a muscle structure to it for some reason. He has the…

Comment by MalikKnucklez on 07-06-2012

[QUOTE=hougigo;12309135]Hmmmm, I don't think Donaire KO's Mathebula. I think he'll win a decision, but he's not KOing him.[/QUOTE] This. I don't see as dominant a run for Donaire at 126 or higher. We'll see how he fares against a bigger…

Comment by Rolaz on 07-06-2012

If he wins, then let him clear out the Division, by fighting other champs the Cuban and Mares;If he is victorious, then, let him move to heavier Division.

Comment by Phantomas on 07-06-2012

[QUOTE=spoonwars;12309183]I don't know what you're watching lately, but those you call everyone somehow turns out to be a defensive wizard wannabe when it's time to put up.[/QUOTE] Mares is a defensive wizard?. :friday:

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (26)
Top Headlines McGregor: I Don't Even Believe Mayweather Will Exit Round One! Alamo-Vaas, Ortiz-Lavinanza: WBC Belts at Stake in Puerto Rico NSAC Head: Glove Change Was in Best Interest of Fighters, Fans Dana White: May-Mac 'Biggest Fight Ever,' Will Break All Records McGregor To Malignaggi: Shut Up & Join the Queue to Fight Me! Video: Miguel Cotto Discusses His Long Career, More Mosley Explains That Botched Surgery Forced Retirement Decision Roach is Confident That Miguel Cotto Will Knock Kamegai Out Conor McGregor Reacts To Boxers Doing The 'McGregor Challenge' Photos: Miguel Cotto Putting in Work For Kamegai Showdown McGregor: Mayweather Fight Isn't a 'Black Versus White' Thing Ellerbe: Smaller Gloves Will Have Impact on Mayweather-McGregor Photos: Bryant Jennings, Gvozdyk, Shakur Stevenson - Workouts Photos: Terence Crawford, Julius Indongo - Putting in Work Terence Crawford Didn't Know Who Julius Indongo Was a Year Ago Frampton Reportedly Close To Parting Ways With Barry McGuigan Joseph Diaz vs. Jorge Lara in Play For Canelo-Golovkin Ellerbe Confident: Mayweather-McGregor Ends in KO, Likely Early Photos: Luis Nery Shocks Shinsuke Yamanaka For WBC Crown Yunier Dorticos vs. Dmitry Kudryashov - Ticket Information Michael Bisping Willing To Do 'Boxing Match' With Tony Bellew Mayweather vs. McGregor: NSAC Approves Use of 8-Ounce Gloves Mayweather-McGregor: Robert Byrd as Referee, Judges Selected Indongo in Great Shape For Crawford, No Issue With Weight Mayweather: I Won't Be Cautious, Fans Deserve a Blockbuster Michael Conlan Excited, Details a Very Active Fight Schedule Oscar Valdez Wants to Fight Winner of Santa-Cruz-Mares Rematch Abel Sanchez Has Seen 'Tremendous Improvement' In Canelo Crawford Would Favor Keith Thurman to Beat Errol Spence Frank Warren: Billy Joe Saunders is Back in Business! Luis Nery-Shinsuke Yamanaka: Post-Fight Report Card Anthony Mundine Very Serious About Rugby League Comeback Shane Mosley Retiring From Boxing, No Plans To Fight Again Mayweather Sr: Pacquiao Lost Legit, Horn Will Beat Him Worse! Malignaggi: McGregor Fans Adorable - Jump on His Every Word! Jeff Horn vs. Manny Pacquiao Rematch Inching Closer To a Deal Bryant Jennings Embraces Return: It’s Definitely Back To Business Mayweather Sr: Not Sure Floyd KO's McGregor Due To Hand Issue Showtime Start Legal War Over Mayweather-McGregor 'Streams' Joshua's Coach: 8-Ounce Won't Affect Mayweather vs. McGregor
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement