Boxing has just had a rare spasm of meritocracy. Lance Pugmire reports that after removing Luis Nery from his mandatory challenger spot over his inability to make weight against Emmanuel Rodriguez, the WBC has ordered bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali to face the resurgent Nonito Donaire. The two have until early next month to negotiate.
Donaire (40-6, 26 KO) is admittedly jumping the line a tad; though #1 Nery is obviously out of the running, Donaire was still situated behind #2 Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai and #3 Rodriguez in the WBC rankings. Considering “The Filipino Flash’s” heroics in his war with Naoya Inoue, Nawaphon’s only major wins coming against past-it countrymen Amnat Ruenrong and Sonny Boy Jaro, and Rodriguez coming off of a loss, though, I can’t say I have any complaints. If anyone’s earned another bid at gold, it’s Donaire, who took that same WBC belt from Fernando Montiel in 2011 and defended it with a decision over Omar Narvaez.
Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO) doesn’t figure to give the belt up easily, however. He defeated Rau’shee Warren to claim it this past January, then successfully turned aside Arthur Villanueva and Takuma Inoue. He can actually thank Nery for getting those opportunities, as “Pantera” lost the title on the scales after knocking out Shinsuke Yamanaka.