MANILA, Philippines – Most fight pundits picked Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. to win over crafty Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka in their super bantamweight title clash this weekend.
In a poll conducted by the RING Magazine, 13 out of 15 boxing analysts see Donaire securing a decision in a highly competitive fight against the 36-year-old Nishioka.
“I think Nonito Donaire will win a close -- maybe razor thin -- decision over Toshiaki Nishioka, said RingTV editor Doug Fischer.
“But the moment when Nishioka is rocked -- and possibly dropped -- will be the difference on the scorecards of what should be an intense, elite-level chess match.”
Rich Marotta of KFI Radio sees Nishioka using his experience to the hilt against Donaire.
He said the Japanese’s ring smarts against former opponents like Rafael Marquez will make it a difficult fight for Donaire.
“Toshiaki Nishioka is no joke. His record is no mirage. I was ringside calling his win over Rafael Marquez and he is a very clever, tricky battler,” said Marrota.
Chris Robinson of Boxing Scene, however, said the 1-year layoff and the 7-year age difference could hurt Nishioka.
“I worry that a year-long layoff will have negative effects for the 36-year old Nishioka, who I see having trouble with Donaire's quickness throughout,” he said.
“I think that the fact that Donaire has been staying very active is a huge plus.”
Unlike Fischer and Robinson, Marotta predicted that the Filipino Flash can win the fight by a 10-round stoppage.
“I think Nonito Donaire is a special talent who is still on the come. We haven't seen his best yet, and I do think we've seen the best of Nishioka,” he said.
Bob Velin of USA Today, meanwhile, thinks the fight will end even earlier.
He believes Donaire can halt Nishioka in 8 rounds.
“Nonito Donaire is the more skilled boxer and harder puncher. He will control the tempo of the fight from the start against Toshiaki Nishioka, and because he is in such great shape, will end it in the seventh or eighth by TKO.”