Nonito Donaire wanted to make a strong statement against Wladimir Sidorenko on Saturday and he did by dominating the Ukrainian veteran to a breath-taking fourth-round knockout.
Donaire (25-1, 17 knockouts), a former flyweight titleholder who moved up from the junior bantamweight division to challenge Sidorenko, was so impressive he earned a No. 6 ranking in THE RING’s bantamweight ratings.
The phenomenally gifted 28-year-old boxer-puncher literally bludgeoned Sidorenko (22-3-2, 7 KOs), a former 118-pound beltholder, dropping the seasoned 34-year-old fighter three times during the one-sided fight.
Donaire’s “statement” was loud and clear. He is now a formidable, full-fledged bantamweight, which is good news for fight fans.
Donaire, No. 5 in THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound ratings, is scheduled to fight Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas.
Montiel, a wonderfully talented veteran from Mexico who currently holds two major 118-pound titles, is THE RING’s No. 1-rated bantamweight and No. 7 in the magazine’s Pound-for-Pound ratings.
Montiel-Donaire, which will be televised on HBO, is one of the most-anticipated bantamweight fights in years, but it’s not the only significant matchup in the division.
This Saturday, Yonnhy Perez and Joseph Agbeko, THE RING’s Nos. 3 and 5 bantamweight contenders, will fight in a Showtime-televised main event from Tacoma, Wash. The scheduled 12-round title bout, which is part of the network’s four-man bantamweight tournament, is a rematch of the barnburner Perez won by a unanimous decision last October.
Abner Mares, THE RING’s No. 4-rated bantamweight contender, faces Vic Darchinyan, the magazine’s No. 1-rated 115 pounder, in the co-featured bout of the tournament semifinals.
The winners of Saturday’s semifinals will face each other in the finals sometime next year. In a perfect world, the tournament winner would face the winner of Donaire-Montiel in a mega-match that could garner the often-overlooked 118-pound division some much-deserved attention from the casual fan.
For now, hardcore fans can relish the fact that the bantamweight division, one of the deepest weight classes in the sport, is heating up and the super talented Donaire is in the mix.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
“Even though Nikolai Valuev (No. 8) has been inactive for more than one year, he’s legitimately injured and has undergone surgery. Therefore, we are retaining him for the time being,” said Nigel Collins, Editor in Chief of THE RING magazine.
Donaire moves up from junior bantamweight and enters the 118-division at No. 6 after knocking out Sidorenko (No. 10 last week). Donaire’s debut as a bantamweight pushes everybody No. 6 or below last week down a spot each, which means Sidorenko exits.
Now that Donaire (No. 4 last week) is campaigning at bantamweight, he exits the 115-pounds class. This allows all fighters rated No. 5 and below last week to climb one rung each. Donaire’s departure also makes room for Yota Sato to come aboard at No. 10.
“We realizes that No. 1 contender Vic Darchinyan is going to fight in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament,” said Collins, “But THE RING’S policy is not to rate a fighter in a new division until he actually fights there. True, Darchinyan had a couple of fights at bantamweight during the beginning of his career, but none of those bouts were consequential enough to earn a rating. Whether or not Darchinyan will be rated at bantamweight depends entirely on how well he does against in the bantamweight tournament.”