FORMER world champion Paul Butler is ready to step in for Nonito Donaire if the ‘Filipino Flash’ can’t make weight for his WBA world bantamweight title fight with Ryan Burnett in the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Burnett is scheduled to defend against Donaire in Glasgow on November 3. But the last time Donaire boxed he fought at featherweight, against Carl Frampton, in April. He hasn’t made bantamweight since 2011 and he is 35 years old. He could well struggle. Butler is the reserve for the fight, and is lined up to fight Yoan Boyeaux on the November 3 undercard anyway.
“Weeks ago I said he [Donaire] will struggle but he’ll make it and I still think the same,” Butler told Boxing News. “I think there will be rumours of him failing weight because he hasn’t made it for so long. He’s been up at feather for numerous years, his last super-bantam was against [Guillermo] Rigondeaux.”
Butler though is ready, willing and able to step in for him. “As far as know I’m boxing anyway. I’m in a 10 rounder anyway so I’m in training for that and I’ve been told I’m the reserve if there was any drop out for that fight,” he said. “I’ve known for four weeks that I’m the reserve so we’ve been training for three different people.”
He is convinced he could catch Burnett off guard. “I’m sure he’s prepared to boxing anyone in the world,” Paul noted.
“[But] obviously he’s craved that big name,” he added. “It would be a bit of a shame for him but it’s a massive bonus for me.”
“Ryan’s really talented. There’s a few gaps there if you watch his last one,” Butler maintained. “I’ve always said out of the world champions I’ve wanted to box Ryan.
“If I was doing the seedings for the World Boxing Super Series, Burnett would be fourth for me. That’s not being disrespectful, I think he’s fourth for me. I’d have [Naoya] Inoue as number one, [Zolani] Tete two, [Emmanuel] Rodriguez three and Burnett four.
“But that doesn’t mean he’s not a world class operator because he is. He’s a top kid, as he’s proven: he’s won the IBF and WBA Super titles.”
Coming into this fight would offer Butler a sudden shot at redemption after losing to Rodriguez for the vacant IBF bantamweight title last time out. “I remember the first jab landing I was thinking I thought I was out of range there. It was an awkward, horrible fight for me where I kept thinking I was out of range and bang a jab would hit me. I couldn’t quite get my movement timing his jab. As every boxing fan knows the jab is key and his jab was brilliant that night,” he recalled.
Butler himself failed to make weight for that bout in May but is adamant that that will not be a problem again. His training camp was disrupted by an illness then and now Butler promises whatever happens, if Donaire or Burnett had to suddenly withdraw between now and the chiming of the first bell, he is prepared and eager to step in at any time.