MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum hopes world super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire will become as big of a draw as his compatriot, Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Despite a highly successful 2012 that saw him fight – and beat – four high quality opponents, Donaire has still not developed into a pay-per-view draw on a par with Pacquiao.
"Nonito (was) everybody's consensus Fighter of the Year, but he certainly hasn't become the draw that Manny is," Arum told Tha Boxing Voice. "Hopefully he will be."
Pacquiao, along with American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., is considered as the top draw in boxing, with his fights regularly generating at least a million pay-per-view buys.
Donaire has not yet headlined a major pay-per-view and his fights are usually broadcast on HBO's Boxing After Dark. Arum believes, however, that there are two possible fights at super bantamweight that may help build Donaire into a pay-per-view draw.
"There are a couple of great super bantamweights out there that would make big matches for him," Arum said. "The Cuban, (Guillermo) Rigondeaux, is a great possibility."
The unbeaten Rigondeaux, who like Donaire is promoted by Arum's Top Rank, is being considered as a potential opponent for "The Filipino Flash" for a March 2013 fight date.
Another possible foe is Abner Mares, though the Mexican kid is promoted by rival Golden Boy, making a fight with Donaire highly difficult to make.
"We'd like to get that fight done," Arum stressed. "I've been contacted by Mares' manager, Frank Espinoza. He is trying to work out a deal with Golden Boy to free up Mares."
Donaire won several Fighter of the Year awards after his sensational 2012, wherein he defeated Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce.