Donaire-Nishioka: Will Nonito finally fight Rigondeaux after he beats 36-year-old Toshiaki?
By Chris Williams: IBF/WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s) will be fighting former WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO’s) on October 13th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The World Boxing Council has been good enough to have their WBC Diamond strap on the line for this fight for some reason.
I think it’s way too premature for the Diamond belt to be on the line until Donaire proves he can beat younger, arguably much relevant fighters in WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and WBC champion Abner Mares. These guys actually champions and not just a challenger like Nishioka. They’re also much better known in the United States than Nishioka is, which makes Donaire – and his promoters at Top Rank – decision to match Donaire against this guy instead of the better known fighters.
I know that Ring Magazine has Nishioka ranked high for things that he did in the past, but the guy hasn’t done anything lately and is looking old. It’s pointless for guys to be ranked for past exploits if they’re no longer doing it in the ring. Nishioka looked horrible in barely beating an over the hill Rafael Marquez last October. I can’t remember the last time I saw Nishioka beat a good fighter that’s still relevant.
This is why I don’t understand Donaire being put in with Nishioka instead of Mares or Rigondeaux. Just the basic reality that Nishioka isn’t as well known as Mares and Rigondeaux in the United States should have been enough for Top Rank to not make the fight in the first place. Of course, it’s hard to figure out how they’re seeing this. Perhaps if they see it as a safer fight than putting Donaire in with Mares or Rigondeaux, then I can understand it from that perspective. Donaire is the more popular fighter right now compared to Rigondeaux and Mares, and it might not be a good thing to feed Donaire to someone that can still actually fight with an excellent chance of exposing him.
I think Donaire would still be a popular fighter if he gets thrashed by Rigondeaux and Mares, because his Filipino boxing fans will likely stay loyal to him no matter how badly he gets beaten by those guys.
I honestly don’t see Top Rank letting Donaire fight Rigondeaux or Mares after Donaire beats Nishioka next month. Believe me, they’ll probably look to put Donaire in with Jorge Arce or one of the contenders to his IBF and WBO straps, while likely making an excuse for why Donaire won’t be fighting Rigondeaux or Mares.