Nonito Donaire is one of several promising would-be stars in line to be boxing’s Next Big Thing. Too bad nobody has actually heard of the 30-year-old yet.
Obviously followers of the sport and international fans who are looking for someone to root for in the post-Manny Pacquiao Era are aware of Donaire's existence, however, to the mainstream fans who dictate whether someone is comfortably well-off or filthy rich, he is no more a recognizable figure than Guillermo Rigondeaux.
That’s why their mildly childish, sort of irritating back and forth over the past week has been interesting. By now, everyone has heard about the pair’s controversy. Donaire wants both fighters to submit to Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) testing for their looming Apr. 13 bout; Rigondeaux wants United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing. It’s a totally stupid reason to publicly bicker as they have over the last few days, but it has also resulted in a lot more coverage than the match would have otherwise received.
There is a reason why Floyd Mayweather teased fighting Devon Alexander before agreeing to take on Robert Guerrero. Similarly, there is a reason why Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will engage in a tango of sorts before their all but guaranteed rematch is agreed upon. While aimless little disputes annoy true fans of boxing, they have a relatively miniscule impact on the fighters involved. The fighters, unlike a lot of the fans, know that it’s all for show. As a result, they lose nothing and gain a whole lot of free publicity.
Donaire and Rigondeaux will fight in two months. Regardless of what anyone says, no matter the nonsense that comes out of Bob Arum’s mouth – this thing is going down. Despite his 'Fighter of the Year' nod, Donaire needs to establish his legitimacy (in some people’s eyes) once and for all. Rigondeaux needs this because there are no other top-flight stars lining up to take him on. This bout makes too much sense to ignore.
In the meantime, fans should just tune out the white noise and enjoy as what promises to be a very good fight gets some much-needed media attention before it inevitably comes together.
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