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Nonito Donaire sees an opportunity to emerge as boxing's next idol

The reward could be great
if Nonito Donaire
passes his test against Montiel
 Boxing is in a bad state right now, and the chances for "something special" to occur are few and far between. Big fights are rarely being made, and the first decent fight of the year -- Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley -- took place nearly a month into the new year and failed to live up to its hype.

This Saturday, two top bantamweights square off, and even though Fernando Montiel has more wear and tear then Nonito Donaire, it should still be an entertaining bout. Fittingly, this one is on HBO's "Boxing After Dark," a broadcast with a legacy that includes Morales-Barrera and Gatti-Ward.

As much as boxing has struggled recently, HBO desperately needs this fight to be entertaining, but also to pave way for future fights. Many had hoped both of these men would be part of the bantamweight tournament that brought together Abner Mares, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko and Yonnhy Perez. But Bob Arum, as usual, thought it best to keep things "in house."

 Arum is not a great guy for boxing, but he knows how to make money. Donaire-Montiel is on HBO, but with the recent falling out between Arum and HBO, I’d be surprised if either of these guys fought on that network in the near future.

The preview:
 Montiel has the experience edge, having been in many big wars over the years. On the minus side, he’s a couple of years older and he's also shorter than Donaire.

Donaire, after a loss in his second pro bout, has been perfect, and has had some fantastic knockouts. Indeed, he has KO'd eight out of his last nine opponents, including a fourth-round destruction of Wladimir Sidorenko in his last fight. Sidorenko had been a longtime bantamweight champion and many were surprised and impressed with Donaire’s performance.

Montiel has been a champion and has been featured in some decent fights. Donaire, despite showing potential and star material, has never materialized into a household name. He's had time off because of promotional issues, and has never really capitalized after his fantastic knockout win over Vic Darchinyan.

This is Donaire’s chance to shine, and he knows it. He may not get the stoppage win because he's fighting a guy with a solid chin. Should he get that stoppage, though, he'll take another step toward becoming the new star that boxing has desperately been seeking.

Manny Pacquiao seems likely to fade into retirement in a couple of years, and Donaire may be the fighter  Filipinos will flock to, should he continue to win. And if he continues with these destructive performances, you can bet that Arum will find a way to make Donaire his next Pacquiao.


More columns
by Rizwaan Zahid:

Alexander-Bradley preview

HBO, Showtime finish strong with doubleheaders

Fighter of the year candidates for 2010

Who wants a piece of Sergio Martinez?

Pacquiao, Haye, Rigondeaux easy choices

A disappointing year isn't over yet; exciting fights loom

Cunningham's thumb, not his fist, ended fight with Troy Ross

The search for boxing's next 'star'

Monte Barrett: The career of a dedicated fighter

Allan Green was not Super Six material

The mess at junior welterweight

Khan & Ortiz figure to beat savvy vets

Haye and Adamek: A report card after 3 fights

Joan Guzman: Best welterweight in the lightweight division

Devon Alexander/Female Boxing

Impressive U.S. debut for Campillo

Williams ready to punish at 147

Happy birthday, Champ!

Stars to Shine in 2010

The Grinches steal Christmas

Malignaggi-Diaz showed why instant replay is needed

Williams, Martinez show why they're avoided

Lucian Bute impresses America, and the world

James Kirkland: So promising, yet so wasteful

Suspension for foul language? That's bull$#:+!!!

Pacquiao-Cotto: Who wins?

Super Six Will Still Have Controversies

Haye, Angulo proved little

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Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rizwaan Zahid is a recent graduate from Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication Program, and is currently pursuing his aspiration of becoming a professional sports journalist.
Although relatively young, Rizwaan has shown his passion of writing the beautiful sport of boxing and has worked with Bragging Rights Corner, Boxing Banter, Diamond Boxing,
Fightfan.com, East Side Boxing as well as The Fight Network for over three years. With Fightfan.com, Rizwaan has been awarded the feature article of the month numerous times.
Over these past few years, Rizwaan has interviewed and conducted conferences with fighters and trainers such as Jeff Mayweather, Jermaine Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Jackie Kallen, Wayne McCullough, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitsckho and Emmanuel Steward.
  Rizwaan still has a strong passion for many other sports and has covered various sports in The Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper. Rizwaan has also worked with PHASE 1 Basketball, a camp based out of Toronto which is a showcase for the best basketball Canada has to offer on various levels, as well as the Out of Left Field blog which attracts numerous readers daily.
Rizwaan Zahid hopes to continue his efforts in journalism in the world of sports.

CLICK HERE to contact Rizwaan

CLICK HERE to find Rizwaan Zahid's podcast


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