Nonito Donaire doesn't want a repeat of his fight against Omar Narvaez, and thus does not want to face Guillermo Rigondeaux. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
In an interview on The Boxing Lab, Nonito Donaire said he's got no plans to face Guillermo Rigondeaux, citing Rigondeaux's lack of excitement in the ring and his own desire to entertain the fans:
"Guillermo goes on the back of the list. He hasn't impressed me yet to where he is one of the best in the division. When I decided to move up I wanted to fight Nishioka and Arce. He hasn't impressed me to the point where he boils my blood and I want to jump right into training (to face him). I don't want to get back into a fight like Narvaez where the fans come and pay money to see me and then he won't engage."
One thing worth noting here, really quickly: Donaire isn't fibbing about the guys he was targeting when he moved up. The original plan was to have him face Jorge Arce in early 2012, followed by a spring fight with Toshiaki Nishioka. That was discussed in October.
Of course the original plan isn't happening, as Donaire (27-1, 18 KO) faces Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (21-1-1, 18 KO) on February 4 in San Antonio (Chavez vs Rubio undercard) first, and at this point, it looks likely the winner will face Arce, who is fighting a likely tune-up on February 18.
But it is hard to not read this in a way that puts a poor light on Donaire. I understand his reasoning -- honestly, I really, really do. Arce and Nishioka are both worth more money than Rigondeaux. Both make more exciting fights than Rigondeaux.
It's really easy, though, to re-phrase what Donaire is saying, and come up with, "I didn't look good against Omar Narvaez, and I don't want that again."
Rigondeaux is a tougher mathcup for him than either Arce, who has almost no shot at beating Donaire because the style matchup is terrible for the Mexican, or Nishioka, who is a better fighter than Arce but also a friendlier style clash for Donaire than Rigondeaux.
Donaire, as much as anything, likes to look good, look flashy, look spectacular. Guys like Narvaez and Rigondeaux don't let that happen. Narvaez is willing to be ugly and lose every round. Rigondeaux is just actually skilled enough to make a fight look bad -- and still win.
[ Related: Rigondeaux Could Be Donaire's Nightmare ]
Truthfully, I hope it's a fight that makes sense, maybe late this year. I'm not the world's biggest fan of watching Rigondeaux fight, either. I also think he might be getting a BIT too much credit for what happened last Friday, considering Rico Ramos made clear he was totally unprepared for that fight.
What I really like about Donaire vs Rigondeaux is I actually think it turns into a good fight. Donaire is good enough to make Rigondeaux come out of his shell. Ricardo Cordoba gave Rigondeaux some problems. Donaire is a bit better than Cordoba. And then you know what we've got if Donaire puts the pressure on Rigondeaux and makes him fight? A pair of speedy, accurate, powerful punchers fighting each other, one who's great at leading the fight (Donaire) and the other great at countering (Rigondeaux).
On another note, it's unfortunate that we're basically ignoring Vazquez in this entire process, but he really is that much of an underdog right now.