By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
MULTI-DIVISION boxing champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire looks to enhance his legacy by adding the World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title to his list of achievements when he goes up against reigning champ Nordine Oubaali of France on Sunday (Manila time).
The 38-year-old Donaire (40-6, 26 KO) is out to show that he is still a top-class talent even at this late stage of his career in the Showtime title showdown happening at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Mr. Donaire, a champion fighter in flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight, will mark his ring return with the Oubaali fight after a year-and-a-half of inaction.
The Bohol native last fought in November 2019, losing the World Boxing Association super bantamweight title to Japanese Naoya Inoue by unanimous decision.
He is now angling to return to the top by seizing the WBC title from Mr. Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO), who has had two successful title defenses since becoming champion in July 2019.
For local boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano, the Oubaali fight is a venture worth taking for Mr. Donaire, and that the Filipino fighter has what it takes to get it done against his younger opponent.
“For Nonito Donaire, it’s no longer a question of how dangerous the fight is. At this point of his career, he knows that every fight that he takes from here on has its own risk, but it’s a risk worth taking,” said Mr. Icasiano in an online interview with BusinessWorld.
“Nonito Donaire is a kind of boxer that you should never count out. He has this uncanny ability to reinvent himself, which is why he is still slugging it out with the best of his division at 38… It just goes to show how brilliant and special Nonito Donaire is as a fighter,” he added.
While Mr. Donaire’s status as a Hall-of-Fame boxer is already secured, Mr. Icasiano believes a win in his latest fight will only add further luster to the career of The Filipino Flash.
“A win here will definitely put Nonito Donaire at a different level in terms of his status as a boxer… Nonito won a title at flyweight in 2007, got a super flyweight belt two years later, got a taste of bantamweight gold against Fernando Montiel, added the super bantamweight and featherweight straps into his collection later, and managed to move down to 118 to win gold again. It’s an amazing feat.”
Mr. Icasiano compared Mr. Donaire to legendary American fighter Henry Armstrong, who won titles in different divisions beginning in 1938.
The analyst went on to say, against French champion Oubaali, Mr. Donaire’s experience should serve him well but he must not let his guard down.
“He (Donaire) still has good power and speed at his age. He’s experienced at picking off his opponents when they move into firing range with enough power, doing some damage in the process. However, he is becoming easier to hit as he gets older,” Mr. Icasiano said.
“Oubaali is underrated. He does everything well but doesn’t really excel at anything. Donaire’s experience will do him favors in this fight.”