DECEMBER 10, 2020, Cebu City, Philippines – In a stunning development just this morning; it was announced that Nonito “The Flash” Donaire Jr. has been pulled out from his title match with Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez due to Covid-19 infection.
Nonito was set to battle Rodriguez for the green strap on Saturday, Dec. 19 (Dec. 20 PHI time) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut USA.
Rodriguez, who is also a replacement for erstwhile champion Nordine Oubaali, who was also pulled out of the match because of visa problems. He is a former IBF world champion, the same man Japanese champ Naoya Inoue plastered in just 2 rounds. He is looking to redeem himself in this fight against Donaire and possibly gain another shot at the Japanese “monster”.
But prior to the confirmation of the latest update, it was likely Rodriguez will still appear on the card, against a yet to be disclosed opponent, while Filipino Reymart Gaballo, of SanMan boxing, was scheduled to appear on the same card fighting a different opponent, for the interim bantamweight title. Gaballo is of the same weight class as Nonito and Rodriguez, and he has been a long time gatekeeper in the division, having been a WBA #1 contender for so long a time. Now, this is the big break Gaballo and his Team have been waiting for all along.
An inquiry to Gaballo’s manager John Ray Mananquil this morning was responded with an affirmative. Gaballo, if nothing change between now and Saturday, will replace Donaire for the title fight
Reymart Gaballo, a native of Polomolok South Cotabato, is unbeaten in 23 fights, 20 opponents of which did not last the distance. He last fought in December of 2019 or a hiatus of almost a year. Will the long layoff affect his performance? It may…but the same is true to almost all boxers at this time. And Rodriguez’s case is even worse having out of the ring since May of 2019, the fight he lost to Inoue via brutal knockout in 2 rounds.
For Nonito, at 38, he may have to wait for his turn as the WBC roster at Bantamweight is stacked. The winner of this title fight may have to face Oubaali first and then possibly Donaire or a unification bout with Inoue next.