WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete has embraced the possibility of facing former four division world champion Nonito "Filipino Flash" Donaire. (photo by Bongani Magasela).
The two boxers are actually friends - and now find themselves as combatants in the upcoming World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament.
Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) was competing two divisions above, at 126-pounds, as recently as his April decision loss to Carl Frampton.
But Donaire has decided to move two divisions down, to reclaim some of the glory that he lost in the higher weight divisions.
If they are selected to face each other or end up as rivals in the tournament bracket, Tete (27-3, 21 KOs) is ready to put their friendship aside.
"This is how this sport of boxing works. You are friends today and tomorrow your are in opposite corners looking to beat each other up," Tete told Sowetan Live.
"If the draw pits us against each other‚ then we will fight. In fact I will be happy to meet Donaire now because we were going to meet anyway along the way. Fighting him now will be much better because if I fight him maybe after two or three years‚ people might say I beat an old man. It is better now."
At one time, Donaire was regarded by many as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport. Now Tete is one of the boxer's in the pound for pound spotlight.
Donaire has lost two of his last three, and he's been switching-hitting between super bantamweight and featherweight for the last few years.
He hasn't fought at the bantamweight limit since 2011 when he dominated Omar Narvaes.
WBSS executive Kalle Sauerland announced that the draw for the bantamweight tournament will take place later this month‚ and action will begin in September.
The other tournament participants include IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico‚ WBA Super titlist Ryan Burnett of Belfast and WBA Oceania champion Jason Maloney from Australia.