by David P. Greisman
Jim Lampley will be ringside at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 13 to call the unification bout between 122-pound titleholders Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
It is a fight that HBO’s highly respected blow-by-blow announcer feels will end with Donaire as the victor.
“I have to go with Donaire: greater experience and flexibility,” Lampley said Tuesday afternoon during a chat hosted on HBO.com. “There's a tremendous challenge to Donaire in this fight. They're both classic counter punchers, and neither really wants to take the lead.
“The person who is selling tickets, and whose reputation is on the line is Donaire. So, Donaire will have to lead,” Lampley said. “He has no choice other than to vary his natural style. Rigondeaux will be willing to stand back and wait for Donaire to lead. That's a big risk, but I think Donaire is good enough to manage that risk and win the fight.”
Donaire, 30, moved up to junior featherweight last year, winning four bouts in that division in the span of 10 and a half months, picking up two world titles (and vacating one), earning recognition as the No. 1 fighter at 122 pounds and winning the “Fighter of the Year” award from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
He is now 31-1 with 20 knockouts, but he faces in Rigondeaux an acclaimed amateur who won gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The 32-year-old Cuban is undefeated through 11 fights as a pro, has knocked out eight of his foes, and also holds a world title.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]