WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire makes an appearance tonight at Madison Square Garden as the power-punching Filipino meets the challenge of undefeated two-weight champion Omar Andres Narvaez in a battle of southpaws.
Donaire, 26-1 (18), is coming off a career best victory, winning the WBC and WBO bantam crowns with a shocking first round KO of Fernando Montiel in February.
The 28 year old California resident previously held the IBF and IBO flyweight titles, along with the Interim WBA super flyweight strap, stopping a high profile list of rivals such as Vic Darchinian, Hernan Marquez, Volodymyr Sydorenko and Moruti Mthalane, among others, since 2007.
At 36, Narvaez, 35-0-2 (19), is still at the top of his game, leaving behind three defenses of the WBO super feather belt after 16 retentions of the WBO feather title, in order to move into the bantam class.
Tonight marks the first time Narvaez will have boxed in America and "El Huracan", who also enjoyed a highly decorated amateur career, claims he is ready for the opportunity after years of boxing in his native Argentina along with the occasional European appearance.
The Cordoba resident has certainly picked a very difficult opponent to break into the bantamweight class and American market against but a victory will bring Narvaez the kind of international recognition that has eluded him so far.
For Donaire, this bout is likely seen as a stepping stone to lucrative unification matches and that could be either a good thing or bad omen for Narvaez, depending on the level of focus Donaire will bring to the fight.
Once the bout starts, the two boxers will bring vastly different styles to the table.
With a four inch height advantage coupled with very long arms that generate serious one-punch power, Donaire is also the faster-handed fighter but Narvaez has the better footwork, defense and stamina, which all should lead to a very good fight.
Narvaez likes to advance behind a high guard, drawing punches in order to study opponents before opening up with a high-pressure inside attack featuring quick looping shots both upstairs and down that are effective against taller opponents.
Donaire likes distance to operate, using his to jab to both keep opponents at range and set up a very fast and powerful left hand that he throws from the start.
If Donaire can keep Narvaez on the outside and at the end of punches, it will be a very long night for the South American but if Narvaez can close distance and set up shop on the inside, he could pull off the upset.
The undercard sees NABF feather titlist Miguel Angel Garcia, 26-0 (22), face durable veteran Juan Carlos Martinez, 19-12-1 (7), over 10 rounds.