Former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez predicted a unanimous decision victory for Nonito Donaire Jr., over Guillermo Rigondeaux in their world super bantamweight title unification bout and then challenged the 2012 consensus Fighter of the Year to a duel in a heavier division.
The Puerto Rican, who was on his way to superstardom until he suffered back-to-back knockout defeats to Orlando Salido, told BoxingScene.com that he felt it is “Nonito’s time” and that the Filipino will win “in dominating fashion.”
On a comeback trail after stopping Aldimar Silva Santos last Feb. 2, Lopez (32-2-0 with 29 knockouts) said he would like to fight Donaire at 128 lb, the super featherweight division.
Donaire, who was named 2012 co-Athlete of the Year awardee by the Philippine Sportswriters Association and Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers of America, will fight the two-time Olympic champ and now WBA titlist Rigondeaux on April 13 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Lopez once held the WBO super bantam crown which Donaire now owns and boasts a string of stoppages, two of them over Filipinos Bernabe Concepcion and Gerry Peñalosa.
“It’s a tough fight for both guys (Donaire and Rigondeaux),” Lopez said.
“Rigondeaux is a great fighter with good skills. Very technical. I feel this is Nonito’s time and that he will win in a dominating fashion.”
The Cuban’s camp disputed Lopez’s statement, saying Rigondeaux “will win the fight easier than most people think.”