Donaire near Pacquiao’s status – Arum

Despite his scintillating win in Houston, Nonito Donaire hasn't reached that exalted status of somebody about to headline a pay-per-view card ala Manny Pacquiao.

Not yet, according to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

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Still, Arum made it clear that Donaire took a huge step towards becoming one over the weekend with his one-punch, third-round knockout victory over Jorge Arce of Mexico at the Toyota Center.

Arum, who heads Top Rank Inc., arguably the world's influential promotional outfit, has big plans for the 30-year-old Donaire.

A mouth-watering matchup with unbeaten Cuban hotshot Guillermo Rigondeaux is being eyed to take place sometime in March.

Following his demolition of Arce, Donaire said he is not backing down from any challenge, taunting that he is looking forward to facing everyone Arum will line up for him in 2013.

Regarded as one of the world's top punchers pound-for-pound, Donaire is eyeing to set the ring on fire not lower than three times next year, adding that if he can fight more than that, it would be great.

This year alone, Donaire has fought four times, outclassing Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., South Africa Jeffrey Mathebula, Japanese Toshiaki Nishioka and also Arce.

Donaire's string of wins hasn't escaped the eyes of experts and the Filipino-American appears to be the runaway winner to be named Fighter of the Year.

Should Donaire keeps his winning ways and continues to captivate, pretty soon Arum is going to showcase him as a true attraction like Pacquiao, who gets a sizeable share in PPV to go with his hefty purse.

In beating Arce, Donaire earned his first seven-figure payday: $1 million.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after victory in his men's singles final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on the twelfth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne early January ... more 
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after victory in his men's singles final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on the twelfth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne early January 30, 2012. IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE AFP PHOTO/POOL/RYAN PIERSE (Photo credit should read RYAN PIERSE/AFP/Getty Images) less 
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