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Top Bantamweight Nonito Donaire Willing to Fight Abner Mares

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Nonito Donaire says he'd fight Abner Mares if it were an option. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Nonito Donaire says he'd fight Abner Mares if it were an option. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Nonito Donaire tells Ronnie Nathanielsz that he'd be open to fighting last night's controversial victor Abner Mares should the fight be presented to him. It won't be, because there's no sense in Golden Boy risking Mares against Donaire, but Donaire notes that he wouldn't be worried about Mares' well-deserved reputation for low blows:

Asked whether he was concerned with Mares’ penchant to land low blows Donaire replied "I don’t think he can because he won’t be able to catch me."

Donaire (26-1, 18 KO) returns to the ring on October 22 on HBO, while Mares (22-0-1, 13 KO) may end up looking at a rematch with Agbeko (28-3, 22 KO) after the refereeing controversy last night.

I'd like to make clear my own thoughts on Abner Mares. I think he's a good fighter. I also think he's a dirty fighter. I mean, this is two straight fights where his opponent is going to file a protest. Vic Darchinyan raised hell about low blows last year following a close loss to Mares in a great fight, and last night was just absurd. Mostly it was absurd because of referee Russell Mora's unbelievable refusal to do anything about Mares' repeated fouls.

I don't know that I can say I'm a fan of Abner Mares, but I do think he's a legitimate talent. He just has a tendency to throw low blows. A lot of good fighters have been dirty fighters. Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather Jr have made habits of fouling over the years. Joel Casamayor was at one time one of my favorite fighters, and he was dirty as hell when he felt he needed to be.

What would raise Mares' respect level, I think, would be rematching Agbeko. Give the fight to a referee like Kenny Bayless. I don't see last night's scoring as controversial -- the scoring was OK. It was a close fight. But if Mares wants to cement his status as a top young fighter who deserves respect, I think he has to rematch Agbeko. Sure, if a money fight with Donaire was really on the table, he should take that, because Nonito isn't staying at 118 for long, and you can never really go wrong fighting the best guy in the division. And that's what Donaire clearly is. While we saw the second and third-best bantamweights duke it out last night, I don't think anyone would pick either of them to so much as give Donaire a truly competitive matchup.