NONITO “The Filipino” Flash Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) will fight on the Manny Pacquiao – Jessie Vargas undercard, according to Top Rank chief, Bob Arum. The report, which was featured on ABS-CBN, is welcome news to Filipino fight fans in the Las Vegas Area and worldwide.
“We are looking to do something really spectacular for all Filipino people,” Arum said to the Filipino news outlet. “When we made the fight, one of the reasons why we are in Thomas and Mack, it sets up so that we can have more than 6,000 seats that we are charging 50 dollars from, so that the Filipinos who come here, who usually watch it on closed circuit, can watch it (in person) for as low as 50 dollars.”
No opponent has been finalized for Donaire but Arum singled out undefeated Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs), a Las Vegas native, as a possibility.
Donaire, will reportedly defend his WBO World super bantamweight title against a fighter that has competed as high as super featherweight. That said, the Filipino will carry a height, reach, and likely also a speed advantage over the challenger.
Pairing Pacquiao and Donaire with a home-town fighter is a savvy business move by the octogenarian promoter as he seeks to hedge his investment in a fight that is having trouble finding a home on the small screen.
HBO, long-time pay-per-view distributor for Top Rank and Pacquiao, passed on the fight, presumably to keep from watering down interest in the Sergey Kovalev – Andre Ward mega fight scheduled two weeks later.
If Donaire-Magdaleno gets finalized, the fight will signal a return to the states for “The Filipino Flash,” who has fought his last four matches overseas in the Philippines, Macao and Puerto Rico.
In that span, he knocked out three of his opponents and defeated another by clear and unanimous decision since being knocked out himself by hard-hitting Nicholas Walters in his third outing as a feather-weight.