Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) has shocked the world earlier this year with an amazing second-round knockout of former pound-for-pound Mexican star Fernando Montiel (44-3-2, 34 KOs).
Then Donaire got into a long spat with his promoter over money that caused him to sit out at least half of the year.
Now Donaire has settled all of his promotional problems with a contract that's rumored to pay at least $700,000 a fight with a minimum of three fights a year. He's already had one this year, yet time is ticking to fulfill his obligation.
Donaire is set to headline an HBO date set for Oct. 22 and may end up returning on the undercard of the rematch of the decade, Miguel Cotto versus Antonio Margarito II in Madison Square Garden.
With 2011's other potential fight of the year candidate's facing only mediocre competition (Sergio Martinez) or facing an enormous task (Victor Ortiz's fight against Mayweather), Donaire has the best shot considering the options he has. Here are his five best options to become fighter of the year.