It would be easy in the wake of last night's loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux to get significantly worried about Nonito Donaire. Donaire was, after all, the more marketable fighter in last night's fight. Scott Christ already touched on the uphill battle for Arum in promoting Rigondeaux, but is Donaire's ability to be sold now beyond salvation?
The answer is a very simple "no."
Donaire looked bad last night, but he looked bad because he was up against a nightmare match-up. Rigondeaux was able to move and move and move and never really let Donaire get off with much by way of effective offense. But that level of impotence from Nonito isn't likely to be repeated in future performances. And his history is one where fans have plenty of reason to believe in the idea of investment in future Donaire bouts.
There's also the lack of The Magic Zero. Despite the majority of boxing fans knowing that an undefeated record without context isn't important, there's natural ease of marketing a fighter who has never lost. But Donaire's having had lost his second pro fight meant that, even with a thirty fight win streak, it was never a part of marketing Nonito to the general public.
Between those two factors and the built in vocal and intensely supportive Filipino fanbase, there's not a lot of concern for if Donaire fights can be sold in the future. He is likely to remain one of the few boxers able to significantly move the needle in terms of measurables such as web traffic and TV ratings.
Where there should be some worry is in the talk of poor preparation for the fight. Donaire supposedly was conducting his "training sessions" with Robert Garcia over the phone and that lack of preparation showed. He also struggled to make weight for the fight, which means a now necessary jump to featherweight.
Donaire will likely still run through most featherweights in the world, same as he's done to everyone -- almost everyone -- he has stepped into the ring with in every other weight class throughout his career. But sometimes the move up a division comes with unforeseen challenges. Maybe his power doesn't translate quite as well, maybe his chin finds the power of his foes a bit harder to deal with or maybe his body just doesn't respond right to the few additional pounds.
Current featherweight king Mikey Garcia also just seems like a bad fight for Donaire. Then again, if Orlando Cruz can become a number one contender at featherweight, Donaire should be able to pick up a title with a fair amount of ease without ever having to see Garcia in the ring.