By Steve Kim
Last year, promotional company Ringstar Sports, which is headed up by Richard Schaefer, signed up former multi-division champion Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs) to a promotional deal with the intent of securing the biggest fights for the 'Filipino Flash' who is in the twilight of his storied career.
This Saturday night from Ireland he faces Carl Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs) in what is a true crossroads bout in the featherweight division.
At stake is the interim WBO title where the winner than puts himself in a position to face Oscar Valdez, eventually.
"When I met with Nonito last year he was very clear that he doesn't want to have tune-up's at this point in his career. He's a big-time fighter, he's a four-division world champion he's one of the biggest names in the sport. So he wanted big fights,'' said Schaefer to BoxingScene.com.
"I said, 'Well, I can't promise you anything but I can certainly try and in his second fight with me he's getting to fight Frampton. We put together a bit of a hit list, Donaire and me, from those big names he would like most and Frampton was on top of the list."
This bout will take place at the SSE Arena in Frampton's backyard and Showtime will provide a live stream to the States on their Facebook and Youtube pages on Saturday afternoon.
"I understand that we're going into the lion's den in Belfast, it's going to be a sell-out crowd and I just talked to one of the Irish reporters. There is so much anticipation for this weekend. But I believe Carl Frampton in his last fight didn't look all that great and the fact is that those fights with Leo Santa Cruz, those 24 rounds, they took a lot of of Frampton and probably out of Santa Cruz, as well.
"So that's why I think it's a very evenly matched fight, people really don't give Donaire really much of a chance, I disagree, I think Donaire when you are a four-time world champion you live for these kind of moments, you live for these kind of fights and it's these kind of moments which motivate you to go the extra mile when you train, you train extra hard when you know this is your chance - and it might be your last chance."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com