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HBO Boxing Preview: Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge Arce

By: William Holmes

Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge Arce, 12 rounds, for Donaire’s WBO junior featherweight title; Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, 12 rounds, for Rigondeaux’s WBA junior featherweight title, Houston, Texas

Nonito Donaire looks to restore some pride to the Philippines after their congressmen and hero, Manny Pacquiao, suffered a crushing defeat last week at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. Donaire fights another Mexican legend on Saturday night for his WBO Junior Featherweight belt, the always exciting Jorge Arce.

Guillermo Rigondeaux was supposed to be on the opening bout of the televised card against Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym for Rigondeaux’s WBA Junior Featherweight title.

However, it was recently reported that Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym twice failed his pre-fight physical and Guillermo Rigondeaux has been pulled of the card entirely.

“The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation notified us today that they would not issue a license to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym,” said Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank. “I feel very badly for both fighters who trained very hard. Top Rank’s matchmakers are working with HBO to returning Guillermo back to the ring as soon as possible.”

The following is a preview of the Rigondeaux bout if it had not been canceled, and the Donaire vs. Arce world title fight.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is the opening bout on the televised card as he takes on Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym for Rigondeaux’s WBA Junior Featherweight title.

The following is a preview of both title bouts.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0) vs. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (42-2); WBA Junior Featherweight Title

Very few professional boxers have the amateur experience of Guillermo Rigondeaux, and his technical mastery shows itself in the ring. He won the gold medal in the Olympics in 2000 and 2004. He was considered to be the best boxer in a Cuban amateur team that included Odlanier Solis and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

He won the WBA Junior Featherweight title before he even had ten fights.

Rigondeaux isn’t one of those champions that has faced cream puffs on his way to a world title. He demolished the undefeated Willie Casey in his home country of Ireland. He crushed the undefeated Rico Ramos for his WBA Super Bantamweight belt in January of this year. He made the usually tough Teon Kennedy look like an amateur with five knockdowns before the referee stopped the fight. He cruised through Robert Marroquin and almost scored a clean sweep on all three judges’ scorecards.

He’s faced extremely tough competition in his short career, and he’s made it look easy.

Rigondeaux’s closest fight to date was against Ricardo Cordoba in November of 2010. Cordoba scored a knockdown in the 6th round, but Rigondeaux was able to win a split decision victory.

Rigondeaux has power, 8 of his 11 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He’s extremely quick, he’s a southpaw, and he’s almost impossible to hit. If there’s a knock against Rigondeaux it’s that he’s only 5’4” with a 66” reach. He’s also 32, so if he wants a big name opponent such as Nonito Donaire he would be wise to try and make that match sooner than later.

Rigondeaux’s opponent, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, is not well known to the American audience. He’s the same height as Rigondeaux with only a one inch reach disadvantage. He’s fought his entire career in Thailand or Japan, with the exception of a bout against Bernard Dunne in 2009 and a bout against Volodymyr Sydorenko in 2006 for the WBA World Bantamweight title.

Kratingdaenggym lost to Sydorenko by a decision, but defeated the one loss Dunne by a third round knockout. His other loss came to Ryol Li Lee in an upset in October of 2010.

Kratingdaenggym has not lost since then and is currently riding a seven fight win streak. However, his victories since his loss have come against less than stellar competition. Kratingdaenggym has power as 33 of his 48 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. Kratingdaenggym has also never been stopped.

Thai boxers often present a style that is difficult for professional boxers to deal with. However, someone with the amateur background of Rigondeaux should have experience dealing against a slick Thai style of boxing.

Rigondeaux will easily dispose of Kratingdaenggym on Saturday night. He’s hoping for a bigger matchup against a more well known Asian boxer if he’s victorious.

Nonito Donaire (30-1) vs. Jorge Arce (60-6-2); WBO Super Bantamweight Title

Donaire has never fought anyone as popular as Jorge Arce and a victory over him will help Donaire become more popular amongst boxing fans.

Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Donaire is a top five pound for pound boxer and it is well deserved. He is the current WBO Super Bantamweight Champion, and a former champion in the Bantamweight, Super Flyweight, and Flyweight divisions. He has extremely quick reflexes and attacks his opponents from all angles. His defense however could use some work and he’s often prone to an effective jab.

Donaire is currently in the prime of his career and has talked about moving up in weight after he cleans out the super bantamweight division. He has an impressive amateur background but has never competed in the Olympics. Donaire has ability to deliver eye opening knockouts. His victories over Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel are highlight reel knockouts.

However, only two of his last five victories have resulted in a stoppage. He struggled at times against Jeffrey Mathebula and Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. and showed that he can be punched in the higher weight classes.

Donaire however was extremely impressive against Toshiaki Nishioka in Ocotober of this year and is returning to the ring only two months later. This will be his fourth fight in 2012, which is something you don’t see too many champions do anymore.

Jorge Arce has spent most of his career in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions, and he looks small for the super bantamweight division. His last televised fight in the United States was against Jesus Rojas which resulted in a no contest due to an accidental foul. It appeared Rojas was winning the brief war while it lasted.

Arce is three years older than Donaire and will have a slight reach and height disadvatange on Saturday night. Arce has a total of 68 career fights, so his in ring age is much older than his actual age. Arce has also been working with Nacho Beristain for this fight, as well as the less than reputable strength and conditioning coach Angel Guillermo “Memo” Heredia.

Arce can stop Donaire, 46 of his 61 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. Arce can also be stopped, 3 of his 6 losses have ended in a KO or TKO. Arce often fights in his home country of Mexico, but he has never backed away from a challenge and is willing to fight anyone anywhere.

His most impressive recent victory was over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in a 12 round war that Arce won by TKO with a come from behind grind it out victory. Arce will do his best to test Donaire’s heart and will try to make it a brawl.

Arce’s last loss occurred in 2009 against Simphiwe Nongqayi, but he will be simply overmatched against the bigger and quicker Nonito Donaire.

Arce will make the fight interesting and worth watching, but he’s just a stepping stone to a bigger fight for Donaire against Rigondeaux or perhaps Mares.

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