Nonito Donaire likely to fight May 28
Fresh off a massive second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19, new unified bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire is primed for a quick ring return.
Donaire is expected to return on May 28 in an HBO main event, likely in a unification fight against Anselmo Moreno, Cameron Dunkin, Donaire's manager, told ESPN.com.
Dunkin said he has been talking about the deal with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in recent days.
Arum wants to put the fight on in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Donaire, a native of the Philippines, moved to when he came to the United States when he was 10.
"Bob said Moreno would be the opponent and I'm fine with it. Bob said he can get Moreno, that that is not an issue," Dunkin said. "Moreno is a really good boxer, a good fighter, but I like Nonito."
Dunkin said he and Arum still need to work out the specific financial terms, but that Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) is excited to return to action so quickly after knocking out Montiel to win his two belts last month at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was a star-making victory that propelled Donaire, a former flyweight titleholder, into the top five on most pound-for-pound lists.
"When I talked to Nonito about what Bob said he had a big smile on his face and said, 'Let's go.' He just really wants to fight. He really does."
Moreno (30-1-1, 10 KOs), a 25-year-old southpaw from Panama, has defended his belt seven times. He won his title by outpointing Wladimir Sidorenko in May 2008 and also won a split decision against Sidorenko in a rematch. Donaire blew Sidorenko out in four rounds in December.
For the HBO-televised opener, plans are in the works to match Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones against Quebec's Antonin Decarie (25-1, 7 KOs).
"That's the plan," said Russell Peltz, who co-promotes Jones with Top Rank. "[Decarie] is a tough guy, but that's not a fight you turn down. We're talking to his people and both sides are interested in the fight."
Jones (24-0, 18 KOs) won a clear unanimous decision against Jesus Soto Karass on the Donaire-Montiel undercard. The fight was a rematch of Jones' close decision against Soto Karass on Nov. 13 on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard.
Decarie is coming off a lopsided decision win against Shamone Alvarez on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" on Feb. 11.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.