• Donaire and the junior flyweight scene

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    Conrad M. Cariño

    Conrad M. Cariño

    Nonito Donaire Jr.’s recent second-round stoppage win over Frenchman Anthony Settoul (20-4 with 8 knockouts) at Macau has boosted the career of the Filipino since his loss to Jamaican Nicholas Walters (26-0 with 21 KOs) on October 18, 2014.

    The Donaire camp felt so confident after their ward’s win over Settoul that a match with Scott Quigg (31-02 with 23 KOs) of the United Kingdom was immediately eyed. Calling out Quigg could prove a wise move, considering he is a stand up fighter who, however, has definitely has more power than Settoul. The disparity in the KO ratios of Settoul and Quigg are too hard to ignore.

    But can Donaire beat Quigg? To be honest, Quigg is still the better choice at this point compared to Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0 with 10 KOs), who beat Donaire on April 13, 2013 via unanimous decision. In beating Donaire, Rigondeaux proved that counterpunchers are still the headache of Filipino offensive fighters like Manny Pacquiao.

    Although Quigg remains undefeated and is the younger fighter at 26 years old, the fighters he beat are still nothing compared to Donaire. And if Quigg enters the ring against Donaire, the Filipino will be the first marquee opponent of the current World Boxing Association world super featherweight champion.

    Among Donaire’s marquee opponents are Vic Darchinyan, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jeffrey Mathebula, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. and Fernando Montiel.

    Donaire and Quigg have a common opponent in William Prado (22-5 with 15 KOs). On June 29, 2013, Quigg knocked out Prado in the third round while Donaire stopped Prado in the second round on March 28, 2015.

    So can Donaire beat Quigg? Let’s see that on fight night.

    Quigg is only one of the promising fighters at junior featherweight with Leo Santa Cruz (31-0-1 with 17 KOs) of the United States, Carl Frampton (21-0 with 14 KOs) also of the UK, Donaire and Genesis Servania (26-0 with 11 KOs) of the Philippines rounding up the top five contenders in The Ring’s rankings in that division.

    Ranked in the contender list in The Ring’s list for junior featherweight from No. 6 to No. 10 are: Shigo Wake (19-4-2 with 11 KOs) of Japan; Rey Vargas of Mexico (24-0 with 20 KOs); Albert Pagara (23-0 with 16 KOs) of the Philippines; Jessie Magdaleno (21-0 with 15 KOs) of the US; and Hugo Ruiz (35-2 with 31 KOs) of Mexico.

    Servania and Pagara being included in The Ring rankings for junior featherweight should interest Filipino boxing fans because both of them have potential to become world champions.

    Servania is only 23 years old and holds the World Boxing Organization intercontinental junior featherweight title and he should aim for a world title match before he turns 25.

    Pagara is younger at 21 years old and holds the International Boxing Federation intercontinental junior featherweight title.

    Notably, Donaire won his first world title, the IBF world flyweight title, at 23 years old while Pacquiao won his first world title at 19 years old also at flyweight.

    At 32 years old, Donaire may have two to four more good years in the ring if he does not suffer another crushing defeat and hopefully, Servania and Pagara can advance their careers by winning world titles.

    If Donaire plays his cards well and win against Quigg, he can take on Santa Cruz or Frampton. The Filipino can even eye a rematch with Rigondeaux who is the only junior featherweight in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound ranking for obvious reasons.

    The Cuban, as of this writing, is also one of the eight of 11 junior featherweight punchers ranked by The Ring who remain undefeated.

    With eight undefeated fighters, Donaire is in a very interesting but equally challenging division. There is actually no easy pickings from The Ring’s rankings for junior featherweight because even the fighter ranked at No. 10, Mexico’s Ruiz, has 31 KOs from 35 wins.

    It’s worth watching how Donaire as well as Pagara and Servania handle the competition at junior featherweight.

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