December, 18, 2013
By Salvador Rodriguez | ESPNDeportes.com
Getty ImagesNonito Donaire and Mikey Garcia are friends, but if they fight each other, we'd all watch.In the spirit of the holidays, ESPN is celebrating the season with our own "12 Days" wish list of the fights we want to see most, regardless of promotional or other entanglements. Keep checking back over the coming days to see new fights revealed, discuss our choices or even suggest some of your own in the comments section or via Twitter using #ESPN12Days.
"No, we are brothers, I don't think we are ever going to face each other," Nonito Donaire told me during a promotional stop in Mexico City before his fight against Vic Darchinyan.
Yes, he was talking about junior lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia.
But, what if?
What if they weren't like brothers? What if they trained in different gyms? What if they didn't like each other the same way Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas did? What if, instead of friendship, they had genuine hate for each other?
Without a doubt, we would have one heck of a fight.
Garcia-Donaire might be best served at a catchweight of 128 pounds, directly between each fighter's current weight class. And if we take a closer look, their styles are a perfect match.
Both fighters can mix it up if necessary and trade the type of punches that could send either to the canvas at any time. But they also each possess good technique, speed, execution and defense.
Garcia seems to be the hotter fighter right now, but in his most recent fight he raised some eyebrows by showing some unexpected hiccups. Roman Martinez dropped him in the second round before succumbing to an eighth-round knockout, something that was completely out of Garcia's fight plan. Meanwhile, Donaire created questions of his own in a somewhat shaky November knockout of Vic Darchinyan.
If speed is a potential Kryptonite for Donaire, we must point out that Garcia is a fighter with incredible technique, respectable power and a lethal repertoire of combinations, even if he lacks the speed to outright trouble the "Filipino Flash."
On the other hand, Donaire's power seems like enough of a reason to keep Garcia alert every step of the way, if he wants to avoid facing that devastating left hook.
On the surface, it would seem the stars are aligned for this fight to make sense. Both are represented by the same promoter and manager, and both are highly esteemed by the same network. This fight would be an easy sell at any venue, whether in California, Texas, New York or Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, both fighters also share the same trainer -- Mikey's older brother Robert Garcia -- making the fight unlikely, at least as things currently stand.
But if Top Rank should ever run out of big-name opponents for either fighter, it wouldn't need to look any further than Robert Garcia's Oxnard, Calif., gym to find the most attractive option for either one. They are made for each other.