That bout sees reigning world champion, and modern day boxing legend, Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24) making the second defense of his title and taking on the unbeaten, and very highly touted, Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17).
The 33 year old champion might not be “Manny Pacquiao” but he is pretty much the #2 Filipino in boxing circles right now, perhaps only challenged by 2-weight world champion Donnie Nietes. Like Pacquiao he has gone through the weight classes, and claimed titles from Flyweight up to Featherweight, though has settled back at Super Bantamweight. Also like Pacquiao he is a fighter coming to the end, he might have one or two fights left in him, or 3 or 4 years but we have certainly seen the best of Donaire.
At his best Donaire was a huge fighter in lower weight classes who had real size advantages, power, skills, speed and appeared to have all the tools for a long and lengthy reign at Super Flyweight, Bantamweight or Super Bantamweight. Instead he rose through the weights looking for challengers and scored wins against a veritable who's who, including Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Omar Andres Narvaez, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce. Some of those were under-sized, other were over the hill, but they were top names and helped make Donaire a major lower weight attraction.
As he moved up the weights he hasn't continued to be as amazing as he once was. He is however still a big puncher, he's got solid skills and impressive skills. Over the 12 round distance he has got questionable stamina, and that was shown notably against Cesar Juarez. Saying that however making it to the latter parts of the fight with Donaire has been a challenge in it's self and 3 of his last 4 opponents have failed to hear the bell to end round 3, and it's worth noting Juarez himself was almost stopped in round 4 before mounting a brilliant fight back.
Whilst Donaire is a true veteran, and had his world title fight more than 9 years ago, the same cannot be said of Magdaleno, a 24 year old prospect who is getting his first world title bout. In fact not only is the bout set to be his first world title bout but also his first 12 round bout of any variety. That's a surprise when you consider that Magdaleno has had 23 bouts and been a professional for close to 6 years, with his team raving about him from incredibly early in his career. In fact part of the reason he was so highly touted was because he was a decorated amateur with 120 and including US and national Gold Glove titles.
Through out Magdaleno's career he has shown all the traits of a fighter heading towards a world title. He has impressed with his power, speed and skills whilst his calmness in the ring has been incredible and it's clear that he's a natural. Sadly though he's not been able to shows those abilities against particularly testing opponents, with his best opponents being Raul Hirales and a shop worn Luis Maldonado. Not only has he failed to fight decent competition be he is also very unproven over the longer distances, with only 2 scheduled 10 rounders on his record and he has only been 7 rounds, or more, on 5 occasions.
On paper this could be a passing of the torch bout, with Magdaleno picking up the proverbial torch from Donaire, but he would need to prove so many things to do that. He would need to prove that he's as good as hyped, he'd need to avoid Donaire's power and probably prove he himself can do 12 rounds. If he can't do those things then it's hard to imagine how he can beat someone like Donaire, or any other world class fighter.
Although Donaire is coming to the end of his career we think that he's still too much for Magadaleno given the way the American has been matched so far. And whilst we can see Magdaleno's youth being an issue for Donaire we don't think he'll manage to cope with the power and speed of Donaire in the early rounds. If Magdaleno can survive the first 5 rounds then things will be interesting, but we'll be honest and say that we doubt that'll happen with Donaire such a heavy handed fighter at Super Bantamweight.