by Hamilton Nolan
Boxing, unlike saner, better organized sports, is prone to leaving its fans wishing for matchups that never take place. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. Gamboa vs. JuanMa. Golovkin vs. anyone good. Boxing fans are used to the disappointment of “what if”s. Which makes the fact that Nonito Donaire is preparing to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux all the more remarkable. It is one of the very best talent matchups in boxing. And despite that, the fight actually got made.
Donaire (31-1), widely considered one of the top five pound for pound fighters in the world, spent the past year running through four very good super bantamweight opponents in brutal fashion, en route to Fighter of the Year honors. His left hook, which in his last fight left Jorge Arce twitching on the ground like a seizure victim, is the most feared in the sport. Yet he’s far from one dimensional; last October, Toshiaki Nishioka kept his guard up against Donaire’s left hook all night, only to be knocked out cold with a straight right hand.