Donaire now ESPN’s No. 1 bantamweight


Posted at Feb 23 2011 05:21 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2011 12:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Not only did Nonito Donaire rule The Ring magazine’s bantamweight rankings, he was also picked by ESPN as its No. 1 bantamweight fighter.

Following his 2nd-round demolition of Mexican champion Fernando Montiel, the Filipino Flash quickly made it to the top of's bantamweight list.

“Donaire scored a sensational second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19 to claim his two belts… What a tremendous performance from a guy who hails from the same hometown as his idol, Manny Pacquiao,” said’s resident boxing writer, Dan Rafael.

Donaire zoomed past No. 2 Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko of Ghana and undefeated Mexican prospect Abner Mares (No. 3).

In beating Montiel, Donaire won the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crowns.

He may opt to fight the winner between International Boxing Federation (IBF) titlist Agbeko and Mares to become Asia’s first undisputed champion.

Rafael said Donaire might soon find himself as the No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer in the world, just behind fellow Filipino superstar Pacquiao.

He said that this could happen if Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues his inactivity from boxing and Segio Martinez loses his next world middleweight title fight.

“No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. is nearing a year of inactivity and close to dropping out of the rankings. And should No. 3 Sergio Martinez lose what looks like a tough fight against Sergei Dzinziruk on March 12, Donaire could move to No. 2 on some lists,” said Rafael.

“He has skill, power, speed, charisma and massive size for a bantamweight,” he added.