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A star is born

This Saturday was a coming out party for Nonito Donaire (is it pronounced doe-nair or do-nai-ray?).

Either/or, you can call him a star on the rise.

Nonito Donaire ko Fernando Montiel

Donaire simply annihilated a formidable champion in Fernando Montiel . Montiel, who never seems to win the big one, was never in this fight. He looked a full weight division smaller than the “Filipino Flash” and was steamrolled by Donaire’s evil left hook in the second round. As Montiel was sprawled out on the canvas, it was apparent that the punch had short circuited his brain so badly that he seemed to continue to throw punches while laying on his back. Referee Russell Mora seemed to be at a loss as to what to do when Montiel arose (more on instinct than anything else). He instructed Montiel to come forward and received no response from the dazed Mexican. The fight should have been stopped here. But then Mora took the bull by the horn, wiped off Montiel’s gloves himself, and then waved Donaire on to complete the execution. Mora then quickly jumped in to stop the bout when Donaire landed two additional blows and seeing the error in his allowing the bout to continue.

Donaire was never mentioned in pound for pound rankings until Saturday night’s coming out party. All of a sudden, the team of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones were effusive in their praise of their newly designated “number two” best fighter in the world. Jones was astute enough to point out that, indeed, he was ranking Donaire number two only because “Floyd Mayweather was inactive.”

Nonetheless, the “Filipino Flash” delivered an electrifying knockout of a solid champion so I understand the HBO hyperbole. Donaire’s breakout performance rivals that of Donald Curry’s annihilation of Milton McCrory in 1985 or even Thomas Hearns’ destruction of Pipino Cuevas in 1980. You got the feeling you were watching someone special hit their stride with the possibility of greatness.

The only question really is how far up in weight class can Donaire go. The bantamweights are a sturdy bunch but no one is a threat to the power punching Filipino. The junior featherweight division is a wasteland of unknowns playing musical chairs with the belts. The featherweight division, however, would be an ideal spot for Donaire. Juan Manuel Lopez, Chris John, Yuriorkis Gamboa would all be delicious matchups for boxing‘s fastest rising star. I believe Donaire would be best served leapfrogging up to the featherweights and continue to rise up as far as he could go…

Donaire has a lankier build than Pacquiao and quickly dismissed Kellerman’s question of him ever facing the Pacman in the ring with a “no, no, of course not.”

But if he keeps piling up these type of electrifying victories and he continues to rise in weight the answer may change from “of course not” to “why not?”

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