Michael Rosenthal

Donaire-Moreno matchup appears likely

Nonito Donaire said after he stopped Fernando Montiel that he wants to unify the bantamweight titles.

Many observers thought he would go after the winner of the fight between IBF champ Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares, though. Instead, the new WBC and WBO 118-pound titleholder is pursuing a unification fight with Anselmo Moreno, who has the WBA belt.

The fight, which probably would take place on May 28, also presumably would be for THE RING championship because Donaire is rated No. 1 and Moreno is No. 2.

The negotiations are in the early stages but Cameron Dunkin, Donaire’s manager, expects it to happen.

“(Promoter Bob) Arum offered us the fight,” Dunkin said. “We’d like to go May 28 up in the Bay Area, most likely Oakland (Calif.), on HBO. He said the (the TV portion of the card) would open with Mike Jones against the Canadian, (Antonin) Decarie.

“… (Arum) tells me the fight is pretty much on.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that Arum has targeted Moreno over the Agbeko-Mares winner.

One, Donaire and Co. will be able to get back into the ring sooner by fighting Moreno because the Agbeko-Mares fight is on April 23. The winner couldn’t fight again until at least July

And, two, Mares is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. If he wins, it’s unlikely the fight could be made because Top Rank doesn’t do business with Golden Boy. Agbeko is promoted by Don King.

Moreno doesn’t have a major promoter.

The fact that Donaire’s contract with Top Rank expires in May, according to the Donaire camp, doesn’t seem to be a problem.

“I told Nonito, ‘Let’s just fight. Let’s not worry about that now. Let’s see what Bob offers you next.’ As long as he starts paying (Donaire) better, I’d rather see him just fight,” Dunkin said.

Moreno (30-1-1, 10 knockouts) poses a legitimate challenge to Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs). The Panamanian is a tall – 5-foot-8 (173cm) — mobile southpaw with exceptional skills but limited power. And he is battle tested, having faced a number of elite opponents. That includes Nehomar Cermeno, who he defeated by split decision in both of his last two fights.

Donaire, rated No. 3 pound for pound by THE RING, is coming off a spectacular one-punch knockout of Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19.

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