On April 13 Nonito Donaire will face Guillermo Rigondeaux, perceived to be his most difficult fight on paper in the last few years, maybe ever. Though Rigondeaux is really known more for his massive amateur pedigree, he has serious talent and a style that can give anyone fits. He's a dreaded Cuban southpaw. Dreaded not only because he can be a difficult puzzle to figure in the ring, but can also be sometimes painful to watch for fans that want more exchanges. It's likely to be a close, tit-for-tat type of fight that could feature as much feinting as punching.
Boxing fans and insiders seem to be fairly split on who they think will win the fight. However, one of the men who will be calling the action live for HBO knows who he is going with. Jim Lampley, HBO Championship Boxing's blow-by-blow man, is picking Donaire to defeat Rigondeaux when the two square off ten days from now. Here is what he had to say in a chat hosted by HBO.com, via Boxing Scene:
"I have to go with Donaire; greater experience and flexibility. There's a tremendous challenge to Donaire in this fight. They're both classic counter punchers, and neither really wants to take the lead.
"The person who is selling tickets, and whose reputation is on the line is Donaire. So, he will have to lead. He has no choice other than to vary his natural style. Rigondeaux will be willing to stand back and wait for Donaire to lead. That's a big risk, but I think Donaire is good enough to manage that risk and win the fight."
So there you have it from a man who will be calling it from ringside. I think what Lampley says will align with how a lot of people feel about this matchup. Somebody is going to be required to take the lead, at least a little bit. And that someone is more likely to be Donaire, who has scored some wonderful knockouts in the past.
Bad Left Hook has Donaire ranked first at junior featherweight, Rigondeaux third.
And I better not see any bang, bang jokes in the comments either.