Now that he is world champion again, newly crowned WBC bantamweight king Nonito "The Filipino" Flash Donaire Jr. has a lot of options to choose from.
The manner in which he destroyed Nordine Oubaali in four rounds, just like he did with Fernando Montiel and Volodymyr Sydorenko, reminded fans how fearsome he is as a bantamweight.
This makes him a very marketable fight even at age 38.
"I won’t be surprised if he gets a unification bout next. A possible fight against the winner of the Inoue-Dasmariñas bout is in the books. The winner of the Casimero-Rigondeaux fight is also an option. There is also the Gaballo-Rodriguez rematch, and that’s for the interim WBC bantamweight title. So the winner of that fight gets a date with Nonito," fight analyst Nissi Icasiano said.
"Evidently, there is no shortage of options for Nonito Donaire."
The Naoya Inoue fight appears to be the most appealing of all options since he gave the Japanese superstar a highly competitive bout when they first fought in 2019. Donaire lost the fight on points, but won the hearts of fans that night.
However, Inoue, the WBA-IBF champion, must first get past another Filipino in mandatory challenger in Michael Dasmarinas on June 19.
Key to longevity
A very well-conditioned Donaire showed up against Oubaali over the weekend, one who could fully execute his game plan despite being four years older than his opponent.
He connected a left hook to the jaw that fell Oubaali 43 seconds remaining in the third round. The Frenchman recovered but absorbed another bone crushing left to the head and fell head first to the canvass just as the bell rang.
Oubaali was able to stand but needed to be escorted to his corner. In the fourth round, Donaire stalked the now erstwhile unbeaten champion and tagged him with a left upper cut the jaw. Oubaali never recovered after that.
This made Donaire the oldest, three-time bantamweight champion of the world.
"Nasabi naman ito ni Nonito Donaire kahit sa mga interview niya in the past at kahit sa interview matapos ang laban niya last weekend, it's all about taking care of the body. He treated his body as investment," said Icasiano.
"Take note that Nonito wasn't spared from injuries or even natural illness. He got COVID-19 last year, and he broke his orbital against Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013. It just goes to show that even at 38, he takes his craft seriously -- moreso at this point of his career, where recoveries should be taken seriously."
The analyst said another factor that led to the revival of Donaire's career is the fighter's effort to reinvent himself.
"It was evident in this fight. He employed a much different approach, a more patient and calculated one that helped him counteract the possible advances of his French foe and exhibited his experience in the ring," said Icasiano.