Nonito Donaire will return to the bantamweight division for the first time in seven years to take on the undefeated Ryan Burnett in a World Boxing Super Series Showdown.
The quarterfinal clash, set for Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland, will set up a semifinal against South Africa's Zolani Tete. The bout will also put Burnett's WBA super world bantamweight title on the line (the vacant WBC diamond belt is also up for grabs).
The 35-year-old Donaire is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Carl Frampton in April. For Burnett, Donaire represents his toughest test yet as a professional. Here's how to watch.
Burnett vs. Donaire Fight Info
When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland
Live Stream: DAZN (subscription required)
Odds: Burnett -950 (bet $950 to win $100), Donaire +575 (bet $100 to win $575)
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com and updated as of Thursday, November 1st at 7 a.m. ET.
Donaire may have the flashier resume as a four-division world champion, but he is the underdog against his much younger opponent.
Bettors are backing the 26-year-old Burnett, who is defending his WBA world title for the second time. The Belfast man hasn't given anyone a reason to doubt him yet with an undefeated record. Last time out, he beat Yonfrez Parejo in March by unanimous decision.
For his opponent, "The Filipino Flash," there is reason to believe he has lost his luster in the ring. Donaire has actually lost two of his last three bouts, dropping the aforementioned match against Frampton and losing to Jessie Magdaleno by decision in November 2016. Now in his mid-30s, the skills that made Donaire a four-division world champion may be eroding.
He's also moving back down to bantamweight for this bout after years at super bantamweight and featherweight. It can be tougher for older fighters to move down a division (or two), and Donaire, a strong puncher, might be sapped of some of his trademark power in trying to make weight.
That said, Donaire is fired up about the opportunity afforded to him by the World Boxing Super Series. He can do something he's never done before: unify a division.
"The only thing I haven't done in boxing is become an undisputed champion," said Donaire on Wednesday, per BBC.com.
"I have won multiple titles, won knockout of the year, fighter of the year but this [chance to become the undisputed bantamweight champion] is giving me the fire."
To do that, Donaire would have to beat Burnett, then snatch Zolani Tete's WBO title. That would set up a final against either Naoya Inoue or Emmanuel Rodriguez, who are set to fight in the other semifinal and hold the WBA and IBF titles, respectively.
It's a dream scenario for Donaire, but Burnett may simply be in better position to pull off such a feat. As Bad Left Hook's Scott Christ explained, Burnett is highly skilled and difficult to beat:
"The tough thing for Nonito is that Burnett’s a very good fighter. Donaire has always been a bit one-dimensional, falls in love with throwing his left hook, waits too much, and Burnett is a young guy who has handily outboxed other good fighters. If Nonito can’t make something happen early here, something that changes Burnett’s approach, I have a hard time seeing Donaire get much done at all."
Donaire is looking for a career capper, while Burnett is slowly but surely making a name for himself in the sport. The match pits two very different fighters against at two different stages of their career. Only one will move on happy.