MANILA, Philippines – HBO boxing analyst and commentator Larry Merchant is not keen on a boxing match between WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire and WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba.
Rigondeaux called Donaire out following his win against Rico Ramos a month ago. Donaire annexed the WBO super bantamweight strap after his split decision win against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. last weekend.
In an interview with Examiner, Merchant said there is no demand for a fight between the two beltholders.
"(Rigondeaux) is a guy who has had nine professional fights. He’s a good fighter, and I don't blame him for trying to build his case, but there is less than no clamor for that fight," he said.
"I think Rigondeaux is another fighter who has no fan base in America, and he wants to fight a top guy, that's perfectly reasonable," he added.
Donaire has said he intends to unify all the belts at super bantamweight, although he is targeting Mexican boxer Jorge Arce and Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka first.
Merchant said a fight against Arce will be the right step for Donaire, and that for now, a Rigondeaux fight is not in the Donaire camp’s best interest.
"Donaire is 29 years old I think, he's moving up in weight, he's trying to seize his moment to get the payoff on a long career, and if he has the opportunity to fight Arce, who would you rather see? Donaire and Arce or Donaire and Rigondeaux?" Merchant said.
Donaire's manager, Cameron Dunkin, said Rigondeaux will be considered after the Arce and Nishioka bouts.
Donaire may return to the ring against Arce on April, after his left hand – which he injured against Vazquez – has healed.