Criteria: I don't recognize "Regular" or "Super" champion status, nor do I recognize Champions Emeritus. Rankings are based on body of work up until the date period of said rankings. Defeating a pound for pound fighter and that having been your lone significant victory does not move the needle very much when I create my rankings for a particular season in the sport. Winter's rankings could either resemble the rankings in the Fall, or drastically shift in the Spring and Summer seasons.
Pound For Pound (April 2013):
1. Floyd Mayweather (WBA, 154)
2. Juan Manuel Marquez (147)
3. Andre Ward (Undisputed WBA, The Ring, 168)
4. Wladimir Klitschko (Undisputed, WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO The Ring, 200+)
5. Sergio Martinez (Lineal, Undisputed, WBC, The Ring, 160)
6. Guillermo Rigondeaux (Undisputed, Unified, WBO, WBA, The Ring, 122)
7. Timothy Bradley Jr. (WBO, 147)
8. Carl Froch (IBF, 168)
9. Chris John (WBA, 126)
10. Nonito Donaire (122)
What's next for Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux?
Well, one might assume a rematch is in order, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I thought Oscar De La Hoya's ridicule of Nonito Donaire on Twitter was classless but when you're talking about an age old it seems, war between the world's foremost boxing promotional companies Golden Boy and Top Rank, De La Hoya's "You should have took the 3 million" and "I guess Showtime has the best 122lbs in the world" tweets can be given a pass as just another shot fire across the way from a chief rival.
But even if Donaire didn't take the 3 million supposedly, allegedly, offered by Golden Boy promotions in a contract to fight Abner Mares, which by the way apparently the contract never existed, but who knows. As I was saying, even if Donaire had chosen to Abner Mares instead of Guillermo Rigondeaux, one has to assume the winner would fight Rigondeaux eventually right? Well, maybe not Mares, but had Donaire beaten Mares which most boxing fans would say Donaire still beats Mares even after having just lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nonito Donaire probably would have still lost to...Guillermo Rigondeaux.
On the other hand, I think Abner Mares would have gotten stopped had it been him opposite the Cuban Rifle last night instead of Donaire. Mares' style warrants him to be a lot more open and a lot more willing and susceptible to punishing counter punches from such an accurate marksman like Rigondeaux.
If last night told us anything it's the need for Nonito Donaire to rethink his style completely. He's a power puncher who can box with the best of them in the sport, yet because of the need and desire to please fans, he does his own skill set a disservice by leaving many positive aspects of his multi-dimensional game on the cutting room floor. I've never understood this about Nonito, he is a supreme boxer and counter puncher with world class speed and athleticism yet he allows the superficial expectations from the boxing peanut gallery to impose on him an illogical game plan that often leaves him in a corner as a fighter.
There was certainly no shame in losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux despite what many casual boxing fans might say. Keep in mind these are the people who follow the sport based on one or two names they've heard of in passing, the keyboard warriors who spend hours on Youtube watching fights and writing racially insensitive and arrogantly moronic jabs in the comments section. They don't know anything about boxing beyond Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
They're the same people who said just last month that Nonito was the best thing since sliced bread, and now are saying he's the most overrated bum in boxing and he should retire because he's through in the sport. If boxing fans are that shallow then I'm more concerned about the future of boxing's fan base than I am the sport itself. The sport is healthy, the fans well, sometimes they can act as though they have a chemical imbalance.
These are the same people who said Chad Dawson and Victor Ortiz are quitters and that Andre Ward is boring because all he does is hold.
Scott Christ is right, Nonito is far from being done as a viable star in the sport. He's still one of the best in the world, he's clearly the second best 122 pounder in the world and would likely beat the guys at that weight who rank behind him. I think however barring a rematch with Rigondeaux his tenure at Super Bantamweight has effectively come to an end. He's 30 years old, he's getting too big for the weight, and he has nothing left outside of the man who beat him to prove in his current weight division.
He could fight the winner of Johnathon Romero and Carl Frampton for the IBF title, which he once held, but why fight either of those guys when he would easily beat them and for less money? He could fight for the WBC title which depending on the outcome could be held by Victor Terrazas or Cristian Mijares, but that's a backward career move giving where Nonito is at this point. He suffered his second defeat last night and I don't think even in defeat he should look to go backwards and fight a less challenging title holder.
Ultimately if we don't get Donaire-Rigondeaux II, we'll see Nonito start to campaign at 126 pounds and possibly, if not likely move to challenge the great Indonesian WBA belt holder Chris John later in 2014.
I think John-Donaire is a good fight, if Abner Mares can slide securely into a title shot without even having one tune up fight at featherweight then Nonito Donaire should have no problem securing a shot at the #1 featherweight in the world at the moment.
Options for Nonito Donaire:
Johnathon Victor Barros
And you know what, I wouldn't mind seeing Nonito Donaire try his hand at 130 and maybe fight Yuriorkis Gamboa or Rocky Martinez. Donaire has to weigh more than 135 when he's not fighting, I wonder how difficult would it be for him to make 130 and still be effective.
A fight with Mikey Garcia will never happen so let's get that out of our minds.
As for Guillermo Rigondeaux the world at Super Bantamweight is his oyster. He's now the unified and undisputed champion at that weight, he's clearly the king of that weight, and he will, not he will probably, not he will likely, he will without a doubt beat every contender and champion in his weight division. Scott Quigg of the UK holds the interim version of the WBA title, I doubt Ricky Hatton Quigg's promoter would move him to get schooled before Quigg has a better chance to beat the winner of Romero-Frampton. Rigondeaux can essentially collect every belt in the division because no current nor future title holder can beat him. The one guy we all thought would beat him lost, so if everyone else is a level below Donaire, then I doubt Guillermo Rigondeaux will experience a loss on his record for at least another year to two years.
I mean Carl Frampton is a solid contender but really he's a poor man's Nonito Donaire minus Donaire's above average explosiveness and athletic ability. Scott Quigg doesn't have the ring IQ to beat Rigondeaux, Johnathon Romero from what I've seen is a basic boxer with no real special qualities about him. I think in fact Carl Frampton might dominate Romero if those two fight. Leo Santa Cruz maybe, I mean he's a tall lanky fighter who just throws punches for days, but he has nothing else really beyond that to give such a defensive architect like Guillermo Rigondeaux any serious problems.
The wild card in all of this is an equally masterful defensive wizard in WBA 118 champion Anselmo Moreno. Moreno to me, I know Abner Mares beat Anselmo Moreno, but if those two were to fight again I believe Moreno would beat him. I think part of the problem leading up to the first fight was that Anselmo Moreno didn't take Abner Mares seriously as a legitimate champion. And that can have a huge shift in momentum in a fight. Lennox Lewis versus Vitali Klitschko is a prime example of what can potentially happen when you don't show your opponent the proper respect and seriousness they deserve. But for a horrific gash above the eye of Vitali, Lennox Lewis would have lost that fight and he might have gotten stopped.
Options for Guillermo Rigondeaux:
Rematch with Nonito Donaire at the end of the year or early 2014
Unification Match with the winner of Carl Frampton-Johnathon Romero
Leo Santa Cruz
Fight the winner of Victor Terrazas-Cristian Mijares.