Filipino boxers

Donaire targets Oubaali’s world bantam title

Roy Luarca
Donaire targets Oubaali’s world bantam title

Naoya Inoue of Japan (R) and Nonito Donaire of Philippines (L) fight in their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on November 7, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Four-division world champion Nonito Donaire thinks there’s enough gas left in his 37-year-old tank when he fights unbeaten Nordine Oubaali in December

Whatever version of Nonito Donaire appears on Saturday, December 12 (Sunday, December 13, Philippine time) will largely determine the outcome of his title duel with Nordine Oubaali of France at Mohegun Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

If the Donaire that forced Naoya Inoue to dig deep in November last year shows up, the Filipino Flash stands a good chance of nailing the World Boxing Council bantamweight belt against the unbeaten champion.

But if Donaire fights the way he did against Carl Frampton in 2018, chances are he’ll fall short again.

Though he lost by unanimous decision to Inoue, it was competitive enough to be chosen Fight of the Year.

The outcome made Donaire believe he has some gas left in his 37-year-old tank, 38 when the headliner of Showtime Boxing’s final offering for 2020 happens.

The 33-year-old Oubaali holds a 17-0 record with 12 knockouts, but isn’t considered as explosive and as skilled as Inoue (19-0, 16 knockouts).

Among the Frenchman’s victims are Filipinos Arthur Villanueva, who did not answer the 7th round bell in 2019 and Mark Anthony Geraldo, who got knocked out in the 7th in 2017.

Donaire, a four-division world champion with 9 titles to his credit, totes a 40-6 card with 26 knockouts.

Oubaali was at ringside during the Inoue-Donaire 12-round war, having beaten Inoue’s younger brother, Takuma, in the chief support.

A southpaw, Oubaali snatched the then vacant WBC belt from Rau’shee Warren and has defended it against Villanueva and Takuma Inoue.

Apart from a 2 1/2 inch height and reach advantage, Donaire will have the edge in experience against Oubaali.

But these will go to naught if Donaire can’t step on the pedal and shift to high gear for the full 12 rounds.

Whether there’s fuel to spare or he’s nearing reserve, Donaire will find out on fight night. –