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Nonito Donaire vs Evgeny Gradovich possible for 2014

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Nonito Donaire has a November 9 rematch with Vic Darchinyan coming up first, but the former three-division titleholder may already be looking ahead to a crack at a featherweight belt in 2014.

USA TODAY Sports

Nonito Donaire hasn't fought since his April loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux, but unlike his vanquisher, he has an HBO date lined up for November 9, when he'll face Vic Darchinyan in a rematch that has been on the burner for six years now, with Darchinyan aiming to get revenge for his first career loss, and Donaire again matched with a fighter who more ably complements his style than did Rigondeaux.

With most likely expecting that Donaire (31-2, 20 KO) will torch Darchinyan the same way he did in 2007, there is already at least some talk of what Nonito will do after that. Moving up to the featherweight division, Donaire could seek his fourth world title (fifth if you count his interim belt at 115, which you shouldn't, really, but then a lot of belts don't much deserve counting, so whatever, do you) in early 2014 against IBF featherweight titleholder Evgeny Gradovich, according to a report at Manila Standard Today from a few days ago.

Gradovich (17-0, 8 KO) jumped into the featherweight mix in March, when he lifted the IBF belt from Billy Dib as a short-notice opponent on ESPN Friday Night Fights, and he made a successful defense on July 27 in Macao, beating Mauricio Javier Munoz.

The one roadblock in theory would be the fact that Robert Garcia trains both men, but according to Donaire's manager Cameron Dunkin, Garcia would train Donaire for that fight, and has informed Gradovich of this. That seems a case of Garcia wisely following the money, given that Donaire has been noted to not actually work in camp with Garcia, though he has reportedly realized that might be a silly way of doing things after losing to Rigondeaux. Gradovich, meanwhile, has been guided by Garcia to his breakthrough. Loyalty is dead! Long live loyalty!