Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Nonito Donaire - It's the End or a New Beginning

image

By Cliff Rold

It’s fitting that, during Halloween week, Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KO) will be fighting the demons of time trying to pull his career into the abyss as much as WBA bantamweight titlist Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KO). 

Saturday (DAZN, 3 PM EST), the now 35-year old is in a position many an aging battler could relate to. His name has value, his body has miles, and the lure of what once tricks the older man into coming down the scale.

Boxing’s elder statesmen almost always take a last big loss to a young tiger, emboldened by the stories of those who came up with another big win or two before they did. It’s worth the risk, and the check, to try to be the exception before the rule kicks in.

The challenge is rarely steeper than when a fighter returns to a weight class long since abandoned. Terry Norris-Sugar Ray Leonard, Manny Pacquiao-Oscar-De La Hoya, and Jose Napoles-Emile Griffith are just a few examples. Those are all fights that would have been tough had the older man been in their primes. Coming back down the scale past those primes made it a fool’s errand. Making weight is hard work. Bodies change.

Some old clothes aren’t meant to be worn again.

This weekend, Donaire will head back to bantamweight for the first time since an October 2011 win over Omar Narvaez. His short stint in the class was memorable, featuring two devastating wins over Wladimir Sidorenko and Fernando Montiel, the latter for a unified portion of the crown.

It might have been his defining class if he’d stayed. Money talked and there was more money above 118 lbs. Donaire still got plenty done north of there, partially unifying titles at 122 and winning a belt at 126 lbs. There have been losses but for a fighter who won his first title at flyweight, it’s been more than enough for a Hall of Fame ledger.

nonito-donaire (2)_4

If he can do what so few have, dropping back down the scale with success late in his career, he’ll further those credentials. Donaire isn’t back at bantamweight just for a night. The goal is to win three times and emerge the underdog winner of the World Boxing Super Series with a chance to add three more alphabet titles.

It won’t be an easy road from the start. Burnett could easily still have two belts but he gave up the IBF belt that is also part of the field on the other side of the brackets. Burnett isn’t a huge puncher but he’s tough, crafty, and young. The 26-year old has home court Saturday in Glasgow and the biggest name opponent of his career to date. It doesn’t matter that Donaire has lost two of his last three. Donaire is still dangerous enough to sound credible and famous enough to be motivating.

But what if Donaire is more than ‘sounds’ dangerous? What if this does end up being one of those great twilight runs? 

The pieces are in place. For Donaire to win the WBSS, he’ll have to beat Burnett, Zolani Tete in the semi-finals, and the winner of Naoya Inoue-Emanuel Rodriguez in the final. Tete is the oldest available foe left in the field at 30. This would be a tough run of foes at any point in anyone’s career.

For a 35 year old fighting at a weight he hasn’t seen in seven years, it’s more than tough. It’s the sort of run that would be career redefining. Donaire, who didn’t stay long enough at bantamweight to make a case as a great one in the class, might be able to recast his place in the 118 lb. annals. He’d do it against multiple styles and, if it ended with Inoue, against a fighter seen as perhaps even more offensively devastating than Donaire once was.

It would mean a lot because so little is expected. Most folks probably figure Donaire to lose this weekend. If he doesn’t, he’ll stay the underdog in each preceding round. An older fighter scoring a big upset isn’t impossible. Scoring three of them in a row feels like it might be.

It all adds together to make Donaire-Burnett one of the more interesting quarterfinal matches in any of the WBSS fields so far. History says Donaire is probably at the end, his name providing some extra pizzazz to another generation. The possibility that Donaire could make one last run of it would be a history all its own. 

Cliff’s Notes…

Burnett-Donaire is part of what should be a really good card. The last WBSS quarterfinal at Jr. welterweight, Josh Taylor-Ryan Martin, could be a show stealer…The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best binge shows in a long time. Just marvelous stuff…ESPN+ has a gem Saturday as well. Miguel Berchelt-Mickey Roman is going to be violent until it’s done. Berchelt doesn’t get the acclaim he probably should and continues to improve. Roman is the sort of veteran who could bring something extra out of him…Fres Oquendo turning down a WBA title fight after all the things that have gone on over the years to fulfill his obligatory shot (while he hasn’t had to get in the ring at all) might be the best combination of awesome and absurd in the sport this year.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by TheCell8 on 11-02-2018

Here is his Derrick Rose moment.

Comment by JOITATS on 11-02-2018

this is an important bout for the entire bantamwgt class, because it puts into perspective how these lesser known fighters measure up vs. a bigger name like donaire

Comment by IceTrayDaGang on 11-02-2018

go get with a decent trainer for crying out loud!! donaire is prolly one of the dumbest boxer out there for not doing this. all this talk about a new beginning or the end yet he still does the same…

Comment by Disturbed on 11-02-2018

Hopefully Donaire will do well, always liked the guy.

Comment by chico malo ali on 11-02-2018

Burnett is going to destroy phonito! War Burnett !

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (10)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Trajche Ilioski To Make Pro Debut, Inks With Tony Tolj Saunders, Eubank Jr. Resume Feud, Trade Vicious Words Fury vs. Joshua Would Be Big in America, Says Top Rank Exec Will 'Fight Camp' Put Boxing Center Stage Again or Is It Hearn's Big Vanity Project Fury: Wilder Will Be More Dangerous in Trilogy Than Ever Before Sergio Martinez Confirms Jose Miguel Fandino is Comeback Opponent Navarrete Very Confident of Beating Inoue: He Can't Take What Dogboe Took Sullivan Barrera Willing To Drop To 168 For Canelo Showdown Vegas Bettor Wins $7,500 From $150K Wager Placed on Albert Bell Roberto Duran on COVID-19 Battle: It Was a World Title Fight That I Was Able To Win Emmanuel Tagoe Angles For WBO Eliminator With Ryan Garcia Madiev-Osipov Ends in Draw, Batyrgaziev Wins Big in Pro Debut Ryan Garcia: De La Hoya Sounds Like a Hater, I Don't Hold Grudges Miguel Marriaga is Pumped To Fight on Top Rank Card on July 16 MTK Global Announce Cards: August 11, August 25, September 1 HBO Reenters Boxing Ring, Developing Six-Part Series 'Unruly' On Jack Johnson Manager: It's Possible Butaev Winds Up Fighting Ugas For WBA Title Ryan Garcia: My Return In Aug/Sept Will Be Bigger Than Top Rank On ESPN - Everyone Will Be Watching Jose Pedraza Punishes Mikkel LesPierre Over Ten Robeisy Ramirez Avenges Loss, Boxes Past Adan Gonzales Jeremiah Milton Gets Ready For Debut By Sparring With Guido Vianello Hughie Fury Applies Pressure on Dave Allen For Agreement Whyte: It’s Not About The Sparring, I Believe I Can Beat Tyson Fury Jose Pedraza: I Proved I Belong With The Top Guys at 140-Pounds WBA #2 Madiev vs. Osipov Headlines in Moscow on July 3, Batyrgaziev Debuts Luke Campbell is Ready: I'm Excited To Beat Ryan Garcia! Jose Pedraza Drops Mikkel LesPierre Twice, Cruises To Decision Win Albert Bell Easily Boxes Past Mark Bernaldez For Decision Win Jose Pedraza vs. Mikkel LesPierre - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Elvis Rodriguez Crushes Danny Murray in One Round Kingsley Ibeh Edges Patrick Mailata By Majority Decision Robeisy Ramirez Gets Revenge, Decisions Adan Gonzales Over Six Arum: Robeisy Ramirez Is A Spectacular Fighter; Is Gonna Be A Major Star LesPierre: Pedraza's Not A Natural 140-Pounder; I Feel I'm A Better Fighter Taylor-Serrano: Hearn Seeks Repayment Of Training Expenses, Serrano Responds Adan Gonzales: Ramirez Is Nothing Special; I'll Show First Fight Wasn't A Fluke Bell: Title Shot Not Happening Yet, But Just Happy To Be Back In the Ring Adan Gonzales: Robeisy Ramirez Must Smoke Crack If He Thinks He Won Our Fight Andrew Moloney Exercises Clause For Rematch With Joshua Franco Pedraza: Life In The Bubble Easier For Me This Time Around
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement