Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux: Better Than Pacquiao-Mayweather

Andrew Dodds@@oyegueytorontoCorrespondent IIJanuary 17, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 15:  Nonito Donaire of the Philippines waves to the crowd before his WBO World Super Bantamweight bout with Jorge Arce of Mexico at the Toyota Center on December 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Boxing fans can begin cheering. A very exciting encounter is around the corner. Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux are now scheduled to meet on April 27 in the fight capital of the world. This fight is guaranteed to be electrifying and is a beautiful treat for frustrated boxing aficionados.

Top Rank has brought the first clash of superstars to this year's calendar. This is an excellent challenge between two very well-rounded and thrilling fighters. Donaire impressed beyond measure as the HBO headliner last December in his dismantling of the quintessential fan favourite, Jorge Arce. The Cuban, Rigondeaux, had his chance to showcase his superlative skills on the co-main event, thwarted by a last minute pullout by his opponent.

This bout will pit two of the sport's greatest rising superstars against one another. This is today's generation's Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather that their predecessors never managed to elicit. Eternal glory, superstardom, elite pound-for-pound rankings are at stake along with the WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine titles in this 122-pound clash.

Donaire is 31-1 with 20 knockouts. He is the current king of the uber-competitive Super Bantamweight division. The possessor of furious knockout power and unbelievable quickness, he is the complete package. He is fan-friendly with controlled aggression and sublime technique, and is a purer boxer than his esteemed countryman, Manny Pacquiao.

The now 30-year-old burst on to the scene in 2007 when he knocked out, then 28-0, Vic Darchinyan; the "The Filipino Flash" has embraced stardom since. This epic encounter at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas will be the most heavily promoted contest to date for the fast-rising phenom. It will be the forum for him to answer if he is the next big thing in boxing. His opponent is worthy of the hype behind this showdown.



Guillermo Rigondeaux is an amateur boxing icon. The 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medalist is now 11-0 as pro. In his last bout, he deflated some of his own mystique with a curiously pedestrian performance, but was still overtly dominant. "El Chacal" seemed content to simply do enough to win a decision and never really pressed the action.  It did give critics reason to murmur and cause supporters to slightly doubt, yet he became the full WBA champion as a result of the unanimous decision win.

This will be the most difficult professional test for the Cuban sensation. He has yet to face any foe of merit in the professional ranks and has proven he can easily outclass B and C level challengers. At 32 years old, it is time for him to step up in competition. Impressively, he has accepted a big jump in class and a win will cause an explosion in the boxing world. Furthermore, it will answer if he is the real deal or not.

Rigondeaux has the speed, technique and pedigree to be a legend. While he might be the greatest technical fighter in the universe, he has never met a proven champion like Donaire, and while Donaire has defeated big names in boxing, he has never faced off against such a perfect boxing machine as Guillermo before. Any advantage in power that Donaire might have could be offset by the Cuban's athleticism, boxing I.Q., counter-punching  and slick defense. One could submit for debate, based on achievements and analyses, that these two are better than Mayweather and Pacquiao ever were.


While the sporting world would still greatly benefit from witnessing a Pac-Man-Mayweather bout, it is less relevant now than it once was. They remain Hall of Famers and truly great champions but Manny is now 34 and has lost two in a row; his last knockout was in 2009. Floyd is 36 next month. He continues to taint his illustrious legacy by spending his final years fighting weak competition.Today, in 2013, the better fight is the one in April than any theoretical blockbuster between two great fighters; the torch has been passed.



The Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux showdown is is arguably the biggest blockbuster available in boxing today. Ring Magazine ranks Donaire as No. 3 pound-for-pound and has Rigondeaux as the division's No. 1 contender. This clearly surpasses  fighters who have yet to sign for a fight this year—Canelo Alvarez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao—and is more intriguing than the scheduled fights for Andre Ward post-surgery (Kelly Pavlik), Sergio Martinez (Martin Murray) and Adrien Broner (Gavin Rees).

Either fighter will also have a great test in the division's other champion, Abner Mares. Excitingly, there is Gary Russell Jr.,who is billed as a blue-chip prospect, waiting at 126.  Hopefully, there will be at least a trilogy here between these two cavaliers and additional blockbuster fights with Mares and Russell. Boxing could be on the precipice of a watershed era tantamount to: Hagler, Hearns, Sugar and Duran.

Boxing's future is bright with stars like these two who are actually willing to make the big fights happen! As the wall at Kronk gym expounds, "The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward."

These two are boxing's best bet to become the next pay-per-view kings and legends of the sport. Credit both of them for taking this fight as it is dangerous for both. Prepare yourself to witness two artists that are renowned masters in their skill. This transcends Manning-Brady, Federer-Nadal, Kobe-Lebron; this is boxing. April 27, 2013 will be etched in sporting lore forever.