Filipino fighters Reymart Gaballo and Nonito Donaire fight for the WBC bantamweight title at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.
Gaballo won the interim title when upsetting Emmanuel Rodriguez last year. He hasn’t fought since, but his first title defense comes against countryman and current bantamweight champion Donaire, who has the experience edge.
Boxing betting markets have Donaire favored to extend his unbeaten streak in what should be a thrilling contest.
Gaballo Respecting Opponent
There has been no trash talk between Reymart Gaballo and Nonito Donaire. The countrymen respect each other, which is good to see.
Gaballo is a 24-0 unbeaten interim champion who hadn’t faced any notable opponents until he defeated Rodriguez by split decision last December.
The victory put the current WBC interim bantamweight champion on the map and now he faces another tough test.
He’s aware of the danger Donaire presents, especially his left hook.
“I’m really excited for this fight because ever since I was a kid I’ve always idolized Nonito,” Gaballo told Inquirer.net. “One thing I’ve always watched during his fights is how he set up his left hook. That’s also the first thing I have to look out for.
“Nonito is a great boxer and his power is always there. That’s why I’ll do everything in my power to make this a great fight.”
It’s never easy to defend the title for the first time, but Gaballo could be the next Filipino boxing star to follow on from Manny Pacquiao. Before the split-decision win over the Puerto Rican, he had won 15 of his last 16 fights with a knockout or TKO.
The power is there, and if he can avoid getting clipped with the left hook of Donaire, he should take the victory.
Betting online markets had Gaballo at +135 to beat Rodriguez, so the increase in odds is good value.
Experience with Title Holder
WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire is 41-6 and rated as the best Filipino bantamweight in the world.
The experienced 39-year-old has fought the biggest names in the business, which is why he must be given the ultimate respect.
He owns wins over the likes of Nordine Oubaali, Ryan Burnett and Toshiaki Nishioka, but it’s his losses that might be more impressive.
His last two losses came to Naoya Inoue and Carl Frampton. They were decided by unanimous decision, so he avoided getting knocked out by two of the best fighters in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions.
Going the distance against Frampton in 2018 is an example of his toughness. He rebounded with a win over Burnett, which put Donaire back on the map.
“May the best man win. This is why boxing is a gentleman’s sport. You have two guys respecting each other but going after each other inside the ring,” said Donaire. “I just want to thank JC [Manangquil] and Reymart for giving honor as a Filipino. It’s not about trash talking, it’s about appreciating what we have and may the best man win.
“I salute him for creating a fighter who we can be proud of. He has that Filipino heart, we’re not Americans. We’re not fond of trash talk.”
The sportsbook has Donaire as the hot favorite, but we’re not sure if he should be that short. He is a quality fighter, but Gaballo is on the up.