HOUSTON - Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum saw the handwriting on the wall Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
It's time to set up the fight everyone wants to see at super-bantamweight: Nonito Donaire against Cuban lefty Guillermo Rigondeaux, the reigning World Boxing Association titleholder.
Arum said he is now inclined to make this mouth-watering matchup happen with March 2013 as target date.
''We'll talk with both fighters (Donaire and Rigondeaux) in the new year,'' said Arum moments after Donaire scored a savage third-round knockout over Mexican veteran Jorge Arce of Mexico.
Donaire had actually called out Mexican-American Abner Mares, the reigning champion in the World Boxing Council, after easily taking out Arce but it doesn't look like it will happen soon not only because Mares is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
''Mares has a mandatory (defense against) No. 1 contender Victor Terrazas,'' said Arum, whose promotional outfit Top Rank has Terrazas under its banner.
Rigondeaux was supposed to share the spotlight but his Thai opponent--Poonsawat Kratingdaengym--failed a blood test, forcing Top Rank to cancel the bout and leaving the two-time Olympic champion and two-time world amateur king dejected.
Donaire has actually been training his sights on the 32-year-old Rigondeaux, who is unbeaten with 11 fights, including eight stoppages.
''Bring them all on,'' said Donaire.
While a Donaire-Mares pairing looks promising, a Donaire-Rigondeaux is much more attractive owing to the explosive styles of the two.
Donaire, whose recent win should bolster his stature in the pound-for-pound rankings, said he'd like to figure in three or four fights in 2013.