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After serving Fernando Montiel’s first loss by stoppage February this year, courtesy of a skull-crushing counter left hook in the 2nd round, Nonito Donaire went on a forced stage of inactivity. The Filipino Flash has not stepped inside the ring since, primarily because of promotional disputes that stemmed with Top Rank after Donaire signed a deal with Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. And now that he is back in Top Rank’s stable after an arbiter ruled that Top Rank has the promotional rights over the Filipino pound-for-pound resident, word has it that he will be fighting before the 2011 calendar hits November.

Donaire, who admitted in an interview with Ronnie Nathanielsz that he’s now packing 140 lbs, is surely excited to lace the boxing gloves once again. As to who his opponent will be, there are still no official announcements from his camp or from Top Rank. But here’s a list of potential fighters that might be tapped to dance with Donaire.

Nonito Donaire has a lot of fighting to catch up.

Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KOs). The reigning WBA bantamweight super champion, Moreno recently won over former world flyweight champion Lorenzo Parra last month, his 10th successful defense of his title (depending on how you look at WBA’s super and regular world champion rule). Negotiations for a May showdown with Donaire fell through because of promotional tiffs Donaire had back then. But if things go right this time, Moreno has the highest chances of securing the bout. After all, a win for Donaire, who holds the WBC and WBA version of the bantamweight belts, will make the Filipino the division’s undisputed champ.

Winner of Joseph”King Kong” Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) vs. Abner Mares (21-0, 13 KOs). Whoever wins in this bantamweight tournament finale looks to be a good opponent for Donaire, who is considered by many as the top bantamweight. Add to the mix are two more significant titles, the IBF and IBO, held by Agbeko and Mares respectively. What makes this matchup difficult to make, however, is that Bob Arum would want to pit Donaire with a fellow Top Rank fighter. Enter Chemito.

Jorge “Travieso” Arce (57-6-2, 44 KOs). Donaire has openly expressed that moving up to super bantamweight is an option he’s been toying for a while. If that’s the case, then who’s the best name right now to tangle with other than Arce?  Crude yet exciting, Arce carries a huge stock of name recognition most champions in his division do not. The current WBO super bantamweight champion is scheduled for a fight on September but there is no official word yetregarding Arce’s opponent. That means Arce, if tapped, is available to fight Donaire either on September or October.

Photo credits: OrangeCounty.com

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.