By Chris Williams: Next Saturday night on October 18th, WBA Super World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) will be in the ring hoping to put on a good performance in his “Mexican Style” fight against WBC interim middleweight champion Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs) on HBO World Championship Boxing from increasingly popular venue at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The Golovkin-Rubio fight will likely be overshadowed by the co-feature bout pitting WBA Super World featherweight champion Nonito Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) against power house Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20 KOs). For me, this is the real headliner fight because it matches a young up and coming star in Walters against the heavily hyped former three division world champion Donaire.
It was only two years ago when Donaire was awarded the 2012 Fighter of the Year award by boxing writers for his victories over Jorge Arce, Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Things have changed for Donaire since then. He’s been beaten black and blue by Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux, he’s struggled to beat 38-year-old Vic Darchinyan, and he’s won a controversial 5th round technical decision over Simpiwe Vetyeka.
It’s pretty clear to all those who’s watched the 31-year-old Donaire’s last three fights that he’s lost a step and isn’t the same fighter that he once was. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum doesn’t believe in going soft with Donaire, at least not this time. While he should probably be putting Donaire back in with Rigondeaux again, Arum is risking his hide by having him fight Walters, and that’s something you’ve got to give Arum credit for.
Walters is a big, big puncher with excellent size and great defensive skills. Donaire is a good puncher too, but not the kind of puncher that Walters is. Donaire is getting hit a lot more than he used to now that he’s moved up to featherweight, and he’s fighting the wrong guy to be getting hit by.
Donaire is going to need to stay on the outside next Saturday night and pick his spots with which to attack Walters, because if he tries to walk him down the way he did against guys like Arce, Mathebula and Darchinyan, Walters is going to take Donaire apart.
We could be seeing Donaire’s career taking another huge hit next Saturday with him getting knocked out instead of just soundly beaten.
I doubt that Donaire will retire, because Arum will still be able to make him good money by matching him against guys he can beat. But Donaire will probably need to think seriously about moving back down to super bantamweight or even possibly bantamweight if he wants to try and find success again. He’s not going to find it at featherweight because there are too many big punchers in this division, and the chances of him winning another controversial technical decision to capture another world, where he doesn’t have to go the full 12 rounds are going to be slim. If Donaire wants to be stubborn and stay at featherweight, he could find himself getting beaten by the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Vasyl Lomachenko and Evgeny Gradovich in the future.