Every fight fan — and that includes some members of media — has his own idea on who Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire should fight next.
Four names have been consistently mentioned - WBC champion Abner Mares, WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, WBC Diamind Belt champion Toshiaki Nishioka and former WBO champion and current No.1 Jorge "Travieso" Arce.
At a post-fight press conference following Donaire's comfortable unanimous decision win over IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula at the Home Depot Center in Carson City last July 7, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told us that Donaire's next opponent had been pruned down to a choice between Arce and Nishioka.
Arum provided an inkling into the eventual choice of Arce when he spoke of the Mexican's warrior mentality which would ensure an exciting fight in the tradition of the storied Philippine-Mexican rivalry, although he quickly pointed out that a Philippine-Japan lash could be just as exciting.
It's important to remember that Donaire got a chance to fight Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title because Arce relinquished the title he won by a stunning 12th round TKO over Vazquez, Jr. on May 7, 2011 and defended just once when he scored a 4th round TKO over South Africa's Simphiwe Nongqayi on September 24 that same year.
Arce decided to move down to bantamweight and thereby paved the way for Donaire to win the title.
While fighters are not known to do each other favors, perhaps Donaire's choice of Arce was influenced to even a small measure by gratitude for the chance Arce effectively gave him.
In fairness to Donaire, he has for the past two years mentioned Arce as one of the big name fighters he wished to face along with Nishioka.
While he often announced in recent months that he was prepared "to face anybody", it was clear that Arce and Nishioka were on top of Donaire's hit list.
Fight fans keep clamoring for excitement and action. If these are the criteria then Arce is obviously the best choice because this Mexican is a genuine warrior who comes to fight every time he steps into the ring.
His last fight against Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas on June 9 was a clear example of Arce's mentality. In the very first round both men traded bombs before Arce caught Rojas with a big right hand and dropped him.
True to the bitter rivalry between Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters, Rojas came charging back and the two fighters engaged in an all-out war before Rojas caught Arce with a vicious head butt followed by several punches. Although Arce was given time to recover he could not continue and the fight was declared a "no contest."
The eagerness of Arce can be seen by the fact that he was willing to face Donaire even in Manila although the financial dimensions of staging such a fight made the US the logical choice and the Staples Center in Los Angeles the preferred venue because of its large Hispanic and Filipino population that should help the turnstiles click.
When Donaire was special guest on a pre-fight ESPN Nacion show with Bernard Osuna, there was a poll conducted among viewers on who they preferred as Donaire's next opponent — Mares or Arce. Sixty-six percent wanted Arce and the rest went for Mares.
Donaire said "a lot of the Mexican fans want me and Arce to fight" and that was clearly reflected in the poll.
The major stumbling block to a Donaire-Mares fight is that Mares is under Golden Boy Promotions and their often nasty exchanges with Arum have made negotiating a fight between the two outfits so much more difficult.
Besides, Mares may be a technically proficient fighter but he is nowhere near as exciting as Arce.
Nishioka was at the Donaire unification title fight when "The Filipino Flash" added the IBF title to his WBO belt as part of his growing collection in four separate weight divisions.
The classy Japanese southpaw, who was elevated by the WBC to the status of champion emeritus, told us he wants to fight Donaire next and if that didn't happen he would be ready to face Mares.
Donaire told us that he is prepared to fight Nishioka after he deals with Arce, saying "I still have a fight to pick with Nishioka because he came to challenge me in the ring and we want to fight each other respectfully and I want to be able to fulfill that."
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.