Dashing Donaire delivers again
Nonito Donaire, 'The Filipino Flash', looked back to his majestic best when he saw off former WBC world super-bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka in California a few weekends ago.
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Nishioka, a gnarled, grizzled veteran who can fight, had not lost since 2004 and was on a 16-fight winning streak.
However, he was no match for Donaire, a prodigiously gifted little man who could take the baton from Manny Pacquiao - when the Pac Man finally decides to call it a day - and run with it.
There was pressure on Donaire to deliver, for while he has kept racking up the wins this was his first stoppage victory since he wrecked Fernando Montiel in a bantamweight unification fight back in February 2010.
And deliver he did with the 30-1 (19) Donaire closing the show with a thudding straight right in round nine to halt Nishioka's brave challenge.
The super-bantamweight division is one of the most exciting in boxing right now. As well as Donaire there is unbeaten Mexican star Abner Mares.
Mares has the backing of Golden Boy but is in deep in his next bout against the classy Anselmo Moreno, a fighter who looks a 'pound-for-pound' star in the waiting.
Moreno is from Panama, a fight mad nation that gave us the incomparable Roberto Duran. He is 33-1-1 (12) and while relatively unknown to US fight aficionados, that could all change if he gets it done against Mares.
The southpaw has already beaten some good men in Vic Darchinyan, Lorenzo Parra and Mahyar Monshipour. Moreno is a master boxer and it should be a good clash of styles when he meets Mares, a gung-ho type who loves to thunder forward.
Talking of gung-ho types who loves to thunder forward, is there a more exciting fighter in world boxing today than Brandon Rios?
'Bam Bam' was involved in a Fight of the Year contender last time out against Mike Alvarado. The pair put it on each other for more than 20 minutes until Rios ended the grizzly spectacle with a wonderful salvo in round seven of their WBO light-welterweight eliminator.
A former WBA kingpin at lightweight, Rios has moved up to light-welter and he remains unbeaten in 31 pro fights since turning pro in virtual obscurity in 2004.
Rios has his flaws defensively but the kid is all heart and he can punch too. His attitude to business is almost Gatti-esque and what he lacks in natural ability he more than makes up for in raw Latino cojones.
Such a fighting style may not be geared towards longevity but we should enjoy him while it lasts and there are whispers he could be the next opponent of Pacquiao, provided Manny deals with fellow 'pound-for-pound' rival Juan Manuel Marquez next up.
Sportinglife.com pound-for-pound world top 10:
1 Floyd Mayweather
2 Manny Pacquiao
3 Andre Ward
4 Juan Manuel Marquez
5 Nonito Donaire
6 Sergio Martinez
7 Miguel Cotto
8 Wladimir Klitschko
9 Timothy Bradley
10 Carl Froch
Honourable mentions: Saul Alvarez, Brandon Rios, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Yuriorkis Gamboa.