This isn't likely to be a topic discussed during a lengthy trip to a barbershop near you, as neither Nonito Donaire or Guillermo Rigondeaux have seeped their way into the minds of the casual fight fan of the sport. But for purists and hardcore fight fans, this is a scintillating match-up of two supremely gifted and talented athletes who couldn't be more different stylistically.
Unable to get a fight with popular slugger Abner Mares because of a ridiculous stand-off between rival promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy, Donaire has accepted the challenge of the brash and polished Cuban sensation. It has the feel of an 80's superfight, and it will be a barn-burning classic.
Perhaps the greatest amateur fighter of all-time, Rigondeaux (11-0, 8KO's), the former 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist and owner of an array of World Championships, will present Donaire (31-1, 20 KO's) with the biggest puzzle of his life. Forget his number of pro fights, for in over 400 amateur bouts he has seen and disposed of virtually every style.
With supernatural reflexes and technical skills, he has the look of a science-fiction version of Floyd Mayweather. But in his rise to stardom and the top of the pound-for-pound ranks, Donaire has displayed the type of power and versatility to derail his nearly flawless counterpart.
Donaire definitely has the edge in power, and is probably slightly ahead in terms of pure hand speed. But in facing Rigondeaux, he will find him to be both sharper and quicker. He works angles and space very well, and will chip Donaire in ways he won't be able to understand. I imagine him being befuddled by the Cuban's mesmerizing style and rhythm, and can't see him winning this on points.
But between the two of them, it is Donaire, that possesses the type of game changing punch that can turn things around at the drop of a dime. As great as Rigondeaux is, he will not be able to avoid that punch over the course of 12 full rounds.
In a spectacular performance and one for the ages, Nonito Donaire will deliver a come-from-behind 11th round knockout.