MANILA, Philippines – Now that he is attracting more attention, Filipino champion Nonito Donaire Jr. will need to take on quality opponents to become a full-fledged boxing superstar, according to Hardball sports analysts.
In the most recent episode of ANC’s Hardball, analyst Boom Gonzales and co-hosts Bill Velasco and Boyet Sison all agreed that Donaire’s future in boxing will depend on the kind of opponents he will face.
Gonzales said that this will give the 4-division champion an opportunity to emerge from Manny Pacquiao’s shadow.
“One of the things that Manny has done in his career, which is not over yet by the way, is that he has faced incredible opponents… Future hall-of-famers. That’s what I want to see from Nonito,” he said.
Gonzales said that the 30-year-old Talibon, Bohol native is steadily becoming a fan favorite because of his recent victories and his rapport with the boxing media.
“Now it's time for him to take on quality opponents to really stamp his class,” he said.
Velasco said Donaire can do this by looking for more challenging opponents in higher weight classes.
He said that staying in a certain weight class for too long may stagnate a boxer’s career.
“What's really striking about Nonito Donaire is he still looks skinny at [super bantam]weight and he's already unifying his weight class, and moving up should be a piece of cake for him,” said Velasco.
“If you stay [at a weight class], a fraction of your marketability as a boxer starts to waste… everybody wants something different, something that would stir their imagination, something like what Pacquiao did.”
Donaire, current world Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight champion, said himself that he plans to climb weight soon.
He said that if he doesn’t get title shots either against World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Abner Mares or World Boxing Association (WBA) titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux, he’ll be campaigning as a featherweight.