By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Nonito Donaire is probably a few wins away from a potential showdown with Yuriorkis Gamboa becoming a realistic possibility.
And as Juan Manuel Lopez’s upset loss to Orlando Salido reminded us earlier this year, that’s entirely too far down the line to start getting all that excited about a Donaire-Gamboa bout. But count Donaire among those that hope the intriguing matchup materializes.
“The Filipino Flash” has watched Gamboa’s development closely and is eager to test himself against an unbeaten boxer Donaire considers special, yet flawed.
“He’s an amazing fighter,” Donaire said. “He has speed, power. I’ll be excited if I get the opportunity, because he’s a good fighter. I see a lot of flaws, but sometimes you see flaws and you can’t react to it. It’s different in that ring.
“But I’ve seen some flaws in him, something I can take advantage of. It’s ‘The Cyclone’ versus the ‘The Flash.’ We’ll see who’s faster, but I think ‘The Flash’ can take cyclones all day.”
Even if the Cuban-born Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), a Miami resident, and Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs), a native Filipino who resides in San Leandro, Calif., continue winning, getting them in the same weight class could become an obstacle.
Donaire intends to move up from 118 to 122 pounds if he wins against Argentina’s Omar Narvaez (35-0-2, 19 KOs) on Saturday night in New York, but Gamboa said after defeating Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-4, 34 KOs) on Sept. 10 in Atlantic City that he’s moving up from featherweight to at least 130 pounds in his next fight. Gamboa didn’t rule out an immediate move to lightweight, either, which would separate him and Donaire by three weight classes.
The 28-year-old Donaire doesn’t think, however, that an eventual move to lightweight will be problematic.
“I’m definitely growing,” said Donaire, who stands 5-foot-7, an inch taller than Gamboa. “[In late August] I was at 147 and I wasn’t fat. If given the opportunity to put some weight on, it’ll be easy for me to do it.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.