It should be just a matter of time before Nonito Donaire becomes a regular headliner of pay per view events.
He has all the elements to become a top PPV attraction. He is explosive. He has style. He is articulate and certainly has the personality to attract crossover sports fans.
He may not approximate the box office pull that his fellow General Santos-raised but more popular boxing champion Manny Pacquiao now commands. But then again, who else can except when that guy is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
His workmanlike knockout victory over long time Japanese super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka was just a regular boxing fare for HBO and he has been kept out from displaying his skills and knockout prowess in the undercard of a Pacquiao fight maybe by design although he shares the same promoter with the eight-division world boxing champion.
What is preventing Donaire from being a top PPV headliner is competition.
There are a handful of names that may be attractive matchup-wise but these are not exactly the kind of PPV fares that can stand alone and make sure his promoter does not lose shirt.
The long grey line?
Featherweights: Orlando Salido, Celestino Caballero, Chris John, Jorge Arce.
These potential opponents have never carried a PPV fare, although many of them have been featured in various PPV undercards, except for Oguni who is virtually unknown.
Salido and Chris John are interesting matchups for Donaire. Jorge Arce could generate enough fan interest. But Donaire will have to step up in weight.
A Mares fight will unify the bantamweight division but bitter and continuing disagreement between Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotion’s Oscar de la Hoya effectively prevents the two boxers from settling the issue of who is the best in the division.
Still, any of these fights will not generate PPV sales anywhere near the 250,000 mark.
But yes, I agree with Arum that Donaire has to fight regularly, not just twice a year, to build his own fan base and also build himself as a marquee fighter who can bring in the fans. Not just hardcore boxing fans but sports fans willing to shell out their US$50 to see him demolish the opposition.
Donaire will turn 30 next month but he is young, boxing-wise. He only has 31 fights in a span of 11 years as a professional boxer. When Pacquiao turned 30, he already had 57 fights under his belt.
Donaire is still fresh except for that pesky left knuckle that regularly bleeds and has never been badly beaten. He never has hit the canvass. And he has already fought some of the best in the divisions in which he toiled.
He is in the prime position to inherit the mantle from Manny Pacquiao as the best Filipino boxer when the fighting congressman hangs up his gloves, hopefully before 2014 is over (Pacquiao recently signed an extension of his contract with Arum that would have ended in 2013).
Arum now realizes that Donaire will be the next big thing after his failed experiment with Juan Manuel Lopez.
And he better prepare a busy schedule for Donaire. He simply is too classy to be confined to Home Depot Center parking lots.