Nonito Donaire isn't exactly looking past his October 13 fight with Japanese star Toshiaki Nishioka, but he knows that he's the favorite in the fight, and understands he's going to have to field questions about what's next even before taking on the man many believe deserves to be called the best super bantamweight in the world.
So Donaire is obliging with answers, and says he'll be happy to face Guillermo Rigondeaux or the Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno winner next ... if he stays at 122 pounds, anyway:
"After this it doesn't matter if Rigondeaux or Mares are next. Put their name next to mine and we can fight. I make it easy for everybody. I will fight anyone. ... I want to (move up in weight). I have my goals at that weight class but if my body doesn't permit me to go up for a while then I will stay here. Like you said there is Mares, Moreno and Rigondeaux. There are plenty of guys to fight in this weight class."
Donaire (29-1, 18 KO) also says he believes he's "way faster" than Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO), and though not addressed here, there's also the fact that Nishioka, now 36, hasn't fought since October 2011, when he outlasted and outpointed Rafael Marquez in Las Vegas. There was even talk of him retiring from boxing, but this is a big money fight and a chance to prove it on about as big a stage as there is in the 122-pound division.
If Donaire does win as most expect he will, the questions about the rest at 122 will come back even bigger. Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO) has called out Donaire, and fans have talked about the fight, which Donaire has played off by saying Rigondeaux isn't worth enough money. Mares and Moreno are both Golden Boy fighters, so there's a block there, too.
This isn't to say that Nonito keeps a weak schedule. Far from it, in fact. Nishioka will be the third top ten opponent he's faced in 2012. But nobody was particularly asking for Donaire-Vazquez Jr or Donaire-Mathebula. Donaire-Rigondeaux, on the other hand, has been chatted up plenty by the diehards and the media. We'll see if Nonito really wants it, should he get through Nishioka next weekend.