But a certain twist has compelled me to write about Nonito Donaire for the second straight week.
Many boxing fans can recall as to how the camps of Donaire and then-undefeated Mexican Abner Mares nearly came to terms for a marquee fight at featherweight, supposedly earlier this year. The camp of Mares even reportedly dangled $3 million to Donaire’s handlers to get the fight going.
But the fight fizzled out, and based on my prognosis, Donaire, while climbing up from junior featherweight, was actually a risky opponent for Mares, who during the fight’s negotiations had a record of 24 wins with 13 knockouts.
Besides giving up two inches in height and reach, Mares was easy to hit and his brawling style would make it easy for Donaire to land his power punches: left hook, right cross, or the left or right upper cut.
Donaire and Mares also had a common opponent in Vic Darchinyan, whom the Mares beat via split decision in December 11, 2010. On the other hand, Donaire stopped a then-undefeated Darchinyan in the fifth round on July 7, 2007.
When negotiations for the Mares-Donaire fight fizzled out, Donaire went to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13 and lose via a unanimous decision, while Mares went on to stop once-feared knockout artist Daniel Ponce de Leon on May 5.
Mares would also go on to ridicule Donaire after the Filipino’s loss to Rigondeaux….he should have kept his mouth shut.
After knocking out de Leon, it looked like Mares had the upper hand in getting marketed to fight fans compared to Donaire, who also had to undergo a shoulder surgery right after his loss to Rigondeaux.
Donaire and Mares not facing off in the ring badly affected the Filipino’s reputation, since some fight fans (especially, the Donaire haters) saw Mares as the fighter who could really test Donaire.
But with the Rigondeaux loss, the camp of Mares perhaps saw bigger fights outside of Donaire, and the Mexican got another fight last Saturday against the 31-year old Jhonny Gonzales, who entered the fight with a 54-8 record with 46 knockouts.
Although Gonzales entered the fight with a higher knockout percentage (83 percent for Gonzales compared to the 65 percent of Mares, both pre-fight), Gonzales has suffered three knockout losses, which made him a “safe” opponent for Mares. Also, de Leon knocked down Gonzales in round six enroute to a technical decision win.
But last Saturday, Gonzales sent Mares to dreamland in just one round, which shatters whatever invincibility the PR machine of the Mexican has created on the former undefeated boxer. Gonzales collared the World Boxing Council featherweight championship in the win.
Gonzales used a left hook to floor Mares the first time, and that punch is the money maker of Donaire.
With the one-round knockout loss, the handlers of Mares surely won’t rush him back to the ring, and a fight with Donaire would be suicidal.
As for Donaire, things now look brighter considering that Gonzales is a very feasible comeback opponent for the Filipino. This is because Gonzales was stopped by Toshiaki Nishioka in the third round in May 23, 2009, and we all know that the Japanese went down twice against Donaire in October 13, 2012.
Even a 36-year old Gerry Penalosa knocked out Gonzales in the seventh round on August 11, 2007.
If I were in the shoes of Donaire’s manager or trainer, Robert Garcia, I would waste no time seeking a fight against Gonzales before the end of the year.
As for Mares, it would have been better had he lost to Donaire. And the table seems to have turned to the Filipino’s favor, since fight fans would hardly care to see Mares and Donaire fight, especially if the Filipino handily beats Gonzales.