IT’S going to be a great month for Philippine boxing as four Filipino fighters led by the great Manny Pacquiao will be seeing action one after the other in bouts capped by a double world championship card at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on November 30.
Former two-time world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. kicks off the Filipinos’ campaign when he returns to the ring this Sunday (Manila time) in a 10-round rematch against old rival Vic Darchinyan in the undercard of the Rocky Martinez-Mikey Garcia World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title fight at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Donaire stunned the boxing world in 2007 when he knocked out the then unbeaten Darchinyan in five rounds to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown in a fight that was later adjudged as `Upset of the Year.’
Although confident of repeating again over the cocky Armenian, the 30-year-old Filipino is not about to take Darchinyan lightly.
“I don’t really look back. We have grown so much since six years ago in 2007,” said Donaire during the conference call arranged by Top Rank on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
“We are looking forward to everything in terms of style and power. We can go back and get a little reference to the fight in 2007, but he will be a lot different when he shows up on Saturday.”
The featherweight bout is the first for Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs) since suffering a 12-round unanimous decision loss against Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in April.
Two weeks later, it’s Pacquiao’s turn to heat up the ring as he wages war against the cocky Brandon Rios in a 12-round welterweight match at The Venetian in Macau.
This marks the first fight of the Pacman for 2013 after suffering back-to-back losses last year at the hands of Timothy Bradley and Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
With a record of 54-5 (38 KOs), the 34-year-old Pacquiao is looking to score an impressive win over Rios (31-1, 22 KOs) as he tries to quash talks about an impending retirement.
On the final day of the month, Donnie `Ahas’ Nietes and Merlito Sabillo stake their respective titles in a double world title match at the Big Dome.
Nietes battles Mexican Sammy Gutierrez as he defends his WBO light-flyweight title for the fourth time. The 31-year-old pride of Murcia, Negros Occidental (31-1, 17 KOs) scored a majority decision over Moises Fuentes last March at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu.
Sabillo, on the other hand, faces Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua in a WBO minimumweight championship bout. This will be the second defense of the 29-year-old native of Bacolod following his sensational ninth-round knockout of Jorle Estrada at the Solaire Hotel last July.