Nonito Donaire is back Saturday night on Showtime. 'The Filipino Flash' is set for a headline bantamweight matchup against up-and-comer Reymart Gaballos.
Donaire's WBC bantamweight gold is at stake in this one. The 39-year-old is coming off a knockout win over Nordine Oubaali to capture the title and set himself up for the headline spot against Gaballo.
Let's take a look at what to expect on Saturday night.
Nonito Donaire vs. Reymart Gaballo: Preview
Nonito Donaire is an ageless wonder. While it's not unheard of for a fighter approaching 40 to be in title contention, it happens less as you go down in weight class. With each passing fight, Donaire bucks that trend and makes history.
The 39-year-old Donaire was given up on by many in 2018, following his loss to Carl Frampton. He had lost two of his three most recent bouts, and was simply getting older. However, Donaire has since reclaimed his prime in an unconventional career arc.
The future hall of famer is 3-1 since the Frampton setback. His sole defeat came to Naoya Inoue in 2019, in one of the best fights of the last decade. Donaire's become a benchmark for consistency, while his opponent has been anything but.
Reymart Gaballo is 25-years-old, and has only recently come into the spotlight. His win over Emmanuel Rodriguez in December 2020 saw him claim the WBC interim bantamweight strap and has thrown the youngster into this fight with Donaire.
Nonito Donaire vs. Reymart Gaballo: Prediction
Most boxing pundits tend to say punching power is the last thing to go, and that couldn't be more true for Donaire. He still has rare game-changing power at bantamweight, as shown in his last win over Oubaali.
Donaire has a lot more than just power these days, however. 'The Filipino Flash' still has lightning fast hands, and is great at cutting off the ring to get to work. Donaire's chin also holds up under fire, as shown in his 2019 war against Inoue. With that said, one of Donaire's biggest problems may be his overreliance on his chin, which could always cost him.
Gaballo may be unproven, but the skill is clearly there. He's a great volume puncher who is defensively competent. His latest win over Rodriguez was controversial, which may be why he's such a big underdog against Donaire.
Recency bias aside, Gaballo is a tough out for anyone. Although, this bout is likely too soon for him. The upstart has taken a massive challenge in fighting Donaire, and he's likely bitten off more than he can chew.
Nonito Donaire is going to get the win Saturday night, but it's not going to come easy. Reymart Gaballo is a slick, young kid who's got speed and age on his side.
Still, Donaire's veteran savvy will be too much on Saturday. Gaballo will see the cards, but he's not going to like the scores coming back at him.