November 5th is a hectic day with numerous significant bouts and title contests taking place during day, from an OPBF title bout in Japan to the ring return of a boxing icon. With so many action it's hard to pick one bout and suggest it should be the best of them, but if pushed it does seem likely that WBO Super Bantamweight title bout will be the most intriguing of the bunch.
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.
The Flyweight division has had a major makeover in the last 12 months, with fighters like Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco abandoning the division to chase glories at Super Flyweight whilst likes like Daigo Higa and Muhammad Waseem have emerged as key hopefuls going forward. Due to the shake ups we've seen several titles become vacant an on November 5th we see one of those vacancies being filled, as Chinese star Zou shiming (8-1, 2) takes on Thai veteran Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (39-1-2, 24), for the WBO title in a rematch that no one really wanted.
For those with half decent memories they may remember that these two men, now both 35 years old, fought back in 2014. In that bout Shiming dominated Kwanpichit, coming close to an opening round stoppage before ultimate winning a decision with scores of 120-103 and 119-106, twice. Since that bout Kwanpichit has gone unbeaten, winning 12 in a row all by stoppage, though has been matched ridiculously softly whilst claiming and defending the WBO Oriental title, to boost his ranking. Shiming on the other hand has gone 2-1 (1), being much less active but fighting at a higher level, with a loss to the then IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng.
On paper the win over Kwanpichit back in 2014 is Shiming's best victory to date, and goes along with a decent win over Luis De la Rosa. That's not saying a lot when you look at the depth of the Flyweight division, with a combination of stars like Kazuto Ioka, prospects like Iwan Zoda, veteran's like Takuya Kogawa and rising former champions like Donnie Nietes, but they are solid contender type wins. Whilst his best wins as a professional haven't been great he is a fantastic boxer, a former amateur star and a talented speedy boxer. Unfortunately his style is still rooted in his amateur style, rather than progressing into a more professional style, and he's still showing real flaws in sitting down on his punches and finishing opponents off, something that was clear last time out against the awful Jozsef Ajtai.
At his best Shiming is a skilled speedster. It's simplifying things a bit, but he really a skilled speedster. Sadly his lack of power, inability to cut the ring off, unwillingness to sit on his punches and lack of extra gear, along with his age, are all going to stop him from becoming a star. That has been made even harder for him due to the expectation on his shoulders courtesy of Top Rank and HBO, who raved about him from his debut but have yet to see him deliver, and at 35 he's in “now or never” land.
Kwanpichit, now listed on boxrec by his birth name of Prasitsak Papoem rather than his fighting name, looks like a man with an incredible record on paper. Even more so when you consider he is 13-1-1 in title fights, and a 2-weight WBO Oriental champion. Sadly though looking through his competition it's a very padded record and there is a specific fighter with a 4-0 (3) record in the division who is far more proven than Kwanpichit. Notably he is 0-1 outside of Thailand and has struggled at times at home, with a very fortunate result 3 years ago against Ben Mananquil and another lucky one against Jayar Estremos, a Filipino journeyman. It's fair to sat he is 12-0 (12) since losing to Shiming but those opponents had a combined 113-99-13 which sums up the level he has been fighting at pretty fairly.
In the ring Kwanpichit isn't actually terrible. He's not a world class Flyweight, but he's not terrible and can fight a bit, he's tough, with a good engine. Unfortunately he's a bit basic and does nothing in an outstanding manner, he's a very slow starter and whilst he is game he could, very easily, have had two opening round stoppages against his name, including one to Shiming. Despite being a slow started he does grow into fights, as he showed against Shiming, and if he's improved he might be able to give Shiming a better test than last time out.
Whilst we think Kwanpichit might be a better test than last time, it's hard to see anything but a win for the Chinese star. Whether that's an early stoppage, with Kwanpichit's early vulnerabilities being jumped on, or a wide decision, with Kwanpichit lasting to the final bell, is hard to predict but it's very hard to see how Kwanpichit wins here. As a result we suspect Shiming will become China's second world champion, the first to be crowned on foreign soil. Unfortunately for him it's unlikely his reign will last long with the sharks, such as Nietes and and Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., already circling the title belt.
(Image courtesy of The Champion - Thailand)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.