Could we see former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire 38-5 (24) boil down in weight to become a bantamweight once more, almost seven years since he last made the 118-pound weight limit?
It could happen says promoter Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports, who told Boxing News: “One thing that seems to be very clear, he doesn’t really belong at 126lbs, he just doesn’t have the power to hurt at 126lbs, like he does at 122 and particularly 118. We actually are discussing for Nonito potentially going back down to 118 and maybe give it another run there and see where it goes.”
The last time Donaire made bantamweight he outpointed long-time titleholder Omar Narvaez on point over 12-rounds to claim the WBC title. The 35-year-old Filipino-American moved up in weight to face Wilfredo Vazquez Jr for the WBO super bantamweight title in his next bout, winning a 12-round split decision, before having four more bouts at the weight before moving up to featherweight in 2013.
In his last fight Donaire went the distance with rugged WBO featherweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland in April, losing by scores of 117-111 across the board. The talented veteran showed he still had something left in the tank but the higher weight class didn’t look suited to his build.
It’s with this in mind that Schaefer is planning a return to the lighter weights.
“One of my guys Nordine Oubaali with Ringstar France and he will be fighting for the WBC 118-pound world title against the Thai challenger [Tassana Sanpattan], most likely on Tony Yoka’s next card, June 23 in France,” continued Schaefer.
“So hopefully Oubaali wins and I could maybe see Donaire challenging Oubali for a WBC title at 118 in France. That’s one idea.”
It’s an ambitious plan but if there’s one thing we know about the evergreen Donaire, it’s that you write him off at your peril.