I know some boxing fans frown at the idea of having our Filipino world champions face each other, but I think the time is ripe for Nonito Donaire Jr. and John Riel Casimero to face each other.
They were supposed to meet on Aug. 14, but Donaire backed out, citing Quadro Alas’ behavior among others. Casimero got his date back with Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux and set a personal best for distance run in the ring as he eked out a split decision win. Rigondeaux defended his style, saying it’s what makes him hard to beat and taunted Casimero by saying the Philippines got a great champion in Manny Pacquiao.
But, I think at 40, Rigondeaux ran his name off the list of potential mega fights in the division.
Casimero, as usual, stayed in character and called out both Donaire and the undefeated Naoya Inoue, saying they are both afraid of him. Inoue and Casimero were supposed to fight in 2020, but the pandemic upended that plan.
Will Donaire bite? Will he—as it is being played in some circles right now—“shut Casimero up in the ring?”
I don’t care whatever angle they use or storyline they promote. I just want to see this fight and perhaps, the winner can face Inoue.
Or perhaps another angle? Since both Donaire and Casimero are capable of beating the fearsome Japanese champion, why not let any of them face the Japanese champ with the winner taking on the other Pinoy world champ?
But I guess, we all have to wait on the powers that be in boxing on which fight is more sellable right now. Inoue vs. Donaire? Inoue vs. Casimero? Donaire vs. Casimero?
All three have no fights scheduled. Inoue last saw action on June 19, beating Michael Dasmarinas for his 10th KO in his last 11 wins. That lone blip was a unanimous decision win over Donaire in late 2019. After that loss, Donaire got back in the picture after beating Nordine Oubaali for the WBC bantamweight title on May 29, becoming the oldest bantamweight champion at 38.
Weeks after the epic win, it was announced that he would take Casimero.
But of course we all know what happened after that.
What happens next?
I don’t know. I guess we will play the waiting game in this stacked division.