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Pacquiao and Donaire on same card on Saturday

Jessie Vargas Manny Pacquiao Nonito Donaire


By Eric Baldwin: Top Rank is working hard in trying to attract interest in their pay-per-view card by putting Filipino stars Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) and Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) on Same card on Top Rank pay-per-view from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The idea is by having two popular fighters in Pacquiao and Donaire on the same card, boxing fans will want to purchase it. I’m not sure if it’s going to work out that way, because the match-ups are less than compelling.

Pacquiao is fighting WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) in the main event of the card. Yeah, it’s that Vargas who was totally schooled by Tim Bradley last year in June 2015. What’s bad about Pacquiao fighting Vargas is that Pacquiao just easily beating Bradley. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if Vargas can’t beat Bradley, then he surely won’t beat Pacquiao.

I had Vargas losing 11 of the 12 rounds against Bradley. Vargas was just too slow and inept do anything against Bradley other than hurt him with a lucky punch in the 12th. The oddsmakers realize how much of a mismatch this fight is, as they’ve made Vargas an 8 to 1 underdog. They’re being kind to Vargas, because it might be an even worse mismatch than that.
Pacquiao should have enough left in the tank to beat Vargas. However, there are questions lurking whether the 5’10” Vargas has too much size for the 5’5” Pacquiao to deal with.

It would be big news if Vargas beats Pacquiao to send him into retirement. Vargas’ promoter Bob Arum thinks Vargas can become a star if he defeats Pacquiao on Saturday night. We’ll see if that comes to fruition if Vargas does win. Vargas is probably not going to become a star if Arum isolates him with his own Top Rank company by matching him against his own fighters. At the world level, you can’t turn your fighters into club fighters facing mainly guys within your own promotional company, because they need to be able to fight the top guys from other promotional outlets for them to get as popular as they can be. Top Rank needs to be able to match Vargas against the best rather than keeping him fighting their own guys like Tim Bradley, Pacquiao and whoever else in the Top Rank company in the future.

Pacquiao said this to ESPN.com about fighting on the same card as Donaire on Saturday night:

“This is a good boxing card because not only am I fighting on the card but (so is) my fellow Philippine boxer Nonito Donaire, who is the pride of the Philippines. I think it is a good present for us and for the Philippine people for us to fight on this card together.”

Pacquiao and Donaire should have fought on the same card years ago when Donaire was in the height of his fame in 2012. They never did though until now. Donaire is not the same fighter now at 33, and he’s been beaten twice in losses to Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters. Donaire failed to avenge either of those defeats. Without even trying to avenge the losses, Donaire’s popularity has waned with the boxing public.

Donaire is still a good fighter, but not seen as the best in the 122lb division, and mainly just a champion to the segment of the division where he’s holed up. You can argue that Donaire is no better than perhaps the fourth of fifth best fighter in the super bantamweight division. Rigondeaux has his number, and he would have major problems with Carl Frampton if he came back down in weight, Scott Quigg, Cesar Juarez, Hugo Ruiz, Albert Pagara, Moises Flores and Shingo Wake.

Donaire needs to fight Rigondeaux again if he wants to regain some of the popularity he lost from his one-side 12 round decision loss to him several years ago in 2013. However, it’s doubtful that Donaire’s promoters will ever put him back in with Rigondeaux, which is unfortunate, because he’s not going to win back the fans he lost from that fight by beating guys with inflated rankings and arguably padded records like Magdalena.

Donaire has won his last four fights in beating Zsolt Bedak, Cesar Juarez, Anthony Settoul and William Prada. Donaire lost to Walters by a 6th round knockout defeat in October 2014 after moving up to featherweight and winning a controversial 5th round technical decision victory over WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka in 2014. That fight was halted after the 5th round due to Donaire complaining he couldn’t see out of his left eye. Vetyeka appeared to be taking control over the fight at the time of the stoppage. It was a poor way for Donaire to beat a champion with it going the scorecards after five rounds. It looked to some boxing fans that Donaire wanted to get out of the fight due to Vetyeka starting to come on. Donaire said he didn’t like winning a world title in this manner, and that he would give Vetyeka a rematch. Unfortunately, Donaire never did fight Vetyeka again. Instead, he fought the Top Rank promoted Walters and was destroyed in six rounds.

Pacquiao vs. Vargas start time: 9:00 p.m. ET

Where to see Pacquiao-Vargas? Top Rank pay-per-view at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) is defending his World Boxing Organization super bantamweight title against unbeaten #1 WBO Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) in the co-feature bout on the card. Despite having Donaire on the same card as Pacquiao, the news hasn’t really interested fans in this fight. There’s very little talk about Donaire at all on the various boxing forums on the internet. One reason for that is because Magdaleno isn’t rated very high despite being unbeaten. His wins have come against largely pedestrian level opposition, and he’s not considered even a top 10 guy in some ratings. You have to rate Magdaleno behind a number of top fighters such as Guillermo Rigondeaux, Scott Quigg, Cesar Juarez, Luis Rosa, Jhonathan Romero, Jeffrey Mathebula, Albert Pagara, Diego De La Hoya, and Hugo Ruiz. Top Rank has done a good job of matching Magdaleno to keep him unbeaten. That’s about all you can say about him.

Other fights on the card are as follows:

WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) making his first defense of his title against #1 WBO Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs). This fight at least is more competitive on paper than the Donaire-Magdaleno fight. Osawa is at least a top 10 talent overall. I don’t consider Osawa ranked above the 10 spot in the featherweight division. Fight News has Osawa at No.10, and I agree with that rankings. Osawa is a good fighter, but there are far better contenders in the division than him. The fight should still be interesting though. Right now, Valdez looks unbeatable.

Former two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) will be facing Prasitsak Papoem (39-1-2, 24 KOs) in a scheduled 12 rounds, for a vacant World Boxing Organization flyweight title. It’s fortunate for the 35-year-old Shiming that he doesn’t have to face Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBO belt, because he would surely lose to the 26-year-old. The 35-year-old Papoem has won his last 13 fights since losing to Shiming by a lopsided 12 round decision two years ago in 2014. This is a good match-up for Shiming, and perhaps his only chance of winning a world title with the current champions holding belts. If Shiming had to face #1 Donnie Nietes for the WBO title, he would likely be destroyed. Nietes is way too good for Shiming in my estimation, as is Estrada. Shiming lost to 36-year-old Amnat Ruenroeng by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision last year in March in Macao, China. The fight was even more lopsided than the scores that were handed down. That’s another fighter that Shiming is lucky he’s not fighting on Saturday night, because Ruenroeng has his number.


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