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Showtime

Showtime Boxing is nearing the end of its 2021 campaign, with Saturday night marking a big spot for the network ahead of next weekend's PPV event. Veteran and ageless wonder Nonito Donaire gets the main event spot in Carson, California when he puts his WBC bantamweight title on the line against Reymart Gaballo (10 p.m. ET). Despite being counted out time and time again, the 39-year-old continues to battle and win in big spots.

Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) had won championships at flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight when he made a return to bantamweight in 2018 to participate in the World Boxing Super Series. Entering the WBSS, Donaire had gone just 1-2 in his three previous fights, the worst stretch of his career. Donaire would prove there was still plenty of life left in his career when he stopped Ryan Burnett to win the WBA title in the opening round and knocked out Stephon Young in the semifinals before clashing with Naoya Inoue, the division's boogeyman, in the finals.

Inoue would beat Donaire in that fight, but it was an all-out war that was a near-consensus pick for 2019 fight of the year. Having proven he could compete with the best in the division, there was little doubt that Donaire was all the way "back" as a top-end talent. He would prove that yet again in May, entering his fight with Oubaali as an underdog before dominating the fight to once again claim a world title.

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Gaballo (24-0, 20 KO) doesn't enter the fight with much by way of hype but does hold the WBC interim championship. That belt was won in December 2020 against Emmanuel Rodríguez. Gaballo had stepped in to fight Rodriguez when Donaire was forced out of the fight due to a bout with COVID.

The fight with Rodriguez caused massive controversy, with Gaballo taking a split decision victory that was universally called a robbery. Showtime's unofficial scorecard that night had the fight 118-110 for Rodriguez, which matched one of the official cards. Two judges, however, gave Gaballo the win, somehow turning in 115-113 and 116-112 cards in his favor.

In January, the WBC ordered a rematch between Gaballo and Rodriguez, with the winner advancing to meet Donaire. That rematch never materialized and now Gaballo gets the chance to meet his fellow Filipino with the world title on the line.

Plus is the complete fight card and odds before a prediction on the main event.

Donaire vs. Gaballo card, odds

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

FavoriteUnderdogWeight class

Nonito Donaire -340

Reymart Gaballo +270

WBC bantamweight title

Kudratillo Abdukakhorov

Cody Crowley

Welterweight

Brandun Lee -1500

Juan Heraldez +850

Junior welterweight

Prediction

It's hard to pick against Donaire here, and why would you want to? He's one of the absolute best guys in a brutal sport; see him serving as Gaballo's interpreter at Thursday's media event as proof. More than that, Donaire is the better fighter. No disrespect intended, but Gaballo should not even be in this spot as it took a robbery against Rodriguez and the rematch never manifesting for him to get here. At his best, Donaire is a fighter who can hit with big power, counter well, bite down on his mouthpiece and go punch-for-punch when needed.

The risk here seems to come less from Gaballo than the always-present risk that time has simply caught up to Donaire. He is 39 years old and age will eventually become an issue. Continuing to cut to bantamweight could amplify those issues when they come. Gaballo's best chance here is that it turns out he's working on a tag team with age and weight cuts to take down an icon. That probably doesn't happen on Saturday night and Donaire blasts away with his left hook and right straight against a fighter who is simply not on his level. Pick: Donaire via KO5