Nonito Donaire last night proved that Manny Pacquiao isn’t the only fighting man from the Philippines who is continuing to light up boxing well past their prime, after he captured the WBC bantamweight championship at the age of 38, 14 years after he won his first world title.
‘The Filipino Flash’ became the oldest bantamweight world champion of all-time after he blitzed Nourdine Oubaali in four rounds in Carson on Saturday night and defiantly declared afterwards that "the king has returned.”
Donaire, like his compatriot Pacquiao, seems to be ageing like a fine wine and showed the boxing world that he is still a slick operator despite his advancing years. After adding another chapter to the history books, he has now set his sights on a rematch with Naoya ‘the Monster’ Inoue, the unified bantamweight champion who beat him in a Fight of the Year contender back at the tail end of 2019.
“What I learned from (the loss to Naoya) Inoue is I’m back. I knew I could compete with him, and I was not fighting, I was learning. I’m ready for the next one!
“That’s why I wanted to win this fight, because that’s my next goal,” he added. “The only thing I haven’t done in boxing is become undisputed, and the next phase is getting the rematch.”
That 2019 bust-up was the last time we saw Donaire in action and many believed that the inactivity perhaps signalled that the four-weight world champion could hang up his gloves soon but, after a near punch-perfect performance in California this weekend, he proved that he still means business.
Donaire sent his French opponent to the canvas twice before ending proceedings in the fourth stanza with a vicious left that put Oubaali down for a third and final time before referee Jack Reiss stepped in to wave the fight off.
"The king has returned," said Donaire. "I just love the crowds. All my friends, family, all the boxing fans that came out thank you so much. You guys are wonderful.
"Being at this age is not the question, it's about my performance. About my ability to grow.
"I believe it matters not what your age is, but how mentally strong you are."
Written off after defeats to Inoue, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Carl Frampton, Nicholas Walters and Jessie Magdaleno over the last eight years or so, Nonito Donaire is back at the top once again and don’t bet against him sticking around for a while longer yet.