Nonito Donaire put on another sensational show last Saturday, stopping Nordine Oubaali to win the WBC bantamweight title and becoming, at 38, the sport’s oldest 118 lb champion in history.
While Nonito is very clear that what he really wants is a rematch with WBA/IBF titleholder Naoya Inoue — and that’s obviously the biggest fight for him, and probably for Inoue, as well — there is a chance that fight just won’t happen for whatever reason.
If it doesn’t, Donaire (41-6, 27 KO) would have to look elsewhere. The winner of August’s Casimero-Rigondeaux fight for the WBO title would be an obvious target, but a lot of others would love to get into the ring with a legend like Donaire, including Australia’s Jason Moloney.
“Donaire’s performance against Oubaali was very impressive! I favored Donaire leading into the fight but I did wonder whether Father Time might finally catch up to him, especially after an 18-month layoff, but he was brilliant. Congratulations to Nonito on another fantastic win! I’ve got a lot of respect for Nonito and what he has achieved in his career. I always want to fight the best and take on the biggest challenges and I’d love the opportunity to fight the future Hall of Famer, I know it would be a sensational fight and it’s a fight I know I will win.”
Moloney, 30, was last out in October, losing a one-sided fight to the aforementioned Inoue on ESPN. He’s a quality fighter, still a top 10 sort of guy at bantamweight. Realistically, he would probably not be super high on Donaire’s list, in part because Donaire is at least nearing the end of his run, as great as he still is, and he will probably prefer the biggest fights he can get.
That said, a Donaire-Moloney fight in Australia could be big, though COVID travel and entertainment restrictions would have to change some for it to be what it could be. If some other stuff didn’t happen, a fight with Moloney really might make as much sense as anything else out there at bantamweight.