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Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire – preview & prediction

Nonito Donaire

By Tim Royner: Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) will be looking to unseat WBA Super World bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs) tonight in the World Boxing Super Series 118 lb tournament at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

Burnett-Donaire is the co-feature bout on the Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin card on DAZN.

Donaire, 35, is expected to lose, but he could pull off an upset if he can land one of his big shots.

Donaire’s sparring with super bantamweight prospect Raeese Aleem (12-0, 6 KOs) wasn’t impressive. Donaire was worked over by the 28-year-old Aleem in the sparring video by DAZN. Donaire was beaten to the punch and overwhelmed by the combination punching by Aleem. If Burnett does that tonight, it’s going to be difficult for Donaire to win.

Donaire lacks the hand speed at 118 to stand and trade with the faster guys. Donaire looks for one big shot much of the time to score knockouts, and that doesn’t work for him when he faces guys that can handle his punching power. Nowadays, Donaire rarely scores knockouts. It’s been two years since Donaire knocked out his last opponent in stopping Zsolt Bedak. In his last five fights, Donaire has stopped only one opponent. That suggests that his power may have abandoned him in his old age. He’ll be turning 36-years-old on November 16.

“This is what I have been dreaming about for a long time,” said Donaire. “The WBSS is what boxing should be. The best against the best. The belts put together. There can only be one! That’s it!”

This isn’t neccessarily the best against the best at bantamweght. Donaire hasn’t fought at 118 in seven years since 2011, so he’s not one of the best in the weight class. Burnett is not viewed as the best fighter at bantamweight. Right now, these are considered to be the best fighters at 118:

1. Naoya Inoue

2. Zolani Tete

3. Emmanuel Rodriguez

4. Ryan Burnett

Burnett, 26, is a good fighter, but he’s not rated as high as Inoue, Tete and Rodriguez. The only question is Burnett a true #4 or does Donaire have enough left in the tank to take his WBA title and place himself at the #4 spot with the boxing fans. The Burnett vs. Donaire winner is not expected to make it to the final of the World Boxing Super Series super bantamweight tournament.

“Nonito is an incredible fighter,” said Burnett. “His track record speaks for itself. I am grateful to share the ring with such a good fighter.”

Beating Donaire would be a great scalp for Burnett’s resume of scalps. It would be Burnett’s first real win over a name fighter during his five-year pro career. You can’t count Burnett’s victories over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov as name fighters, given that those guys aren’t high quality guys. Donaire would likely beat both of them handily. You can’t say that Burnett would beat all the top fighters that Donaire has fought during his career. Carl Frampton, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jessie Magdaleno and Vic Darchinyan would likely beat Burnett if all of them were still in their prime. Frampton and Magdanelo are still at their best. We’re going to find out how good Burnett is tonight. He’s got to look good against Donaire for him to be taken seriously as the potential winner of the WBSS tournament.


Burnett will use his speed advantage to beat Donaire tonight. Burnett is a good combination puncher, and he’ll use that to outwork Donaire to get the decision. Although Donaire has the power and experience advantage, it’s not going to be enough for him to get the ‘W’ tonight against a youthful fighter like Burnett.

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