By MARK REY MONTEJO
Former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. is seeking another highlight in his already impressive resume – becoming an oldest bantamweight champion.
That will happen when he battles the rugged Mexican Alexandro Santiago for the vacant WBC bantamweight crown in the undercard of the Errrol Spence-Terence Crawford blockbuster showdown on Saturday, July 29 (Sunday Manila time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Donaire is already the pride owner of that record – at 38 – when he stopped French-Algerian Nordine Oubaali in the fourth round of their fight in May 2021, a victory that enabled him to an elite group of boxers who have held titles in three separate decades.
Donaire is already 40 but still remains one of the deadliest and sharpest pro fighters of his generation while Santiago is still looking for his first title.
Santiago, however, is no stranger to fighting a Filipino, having fought with Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF Super Flyweight title in 2018.
That match ended in a split-decision draw.
Donaire had a marquee rematch with Naoya Inoue of Japan last year, but unfortunately he lost again by TKO in the second round. They first clashed in 2019 that saw the Japanese legend score a unanimous decision.
The fight was so exciting with the torrid exchange of powerful shots that it was voted by RING Magazine as “Fight of the year”.
Donaire currently has 42 wins (28 KO) and seven losses.
Spence and Crawford will be fighting for an undisputed welterweight crown in what would go down as one of the most important fights in modern era.