The son of a Mexican boxing legend was replaced in the main event of Saturday night's pay-per-view boxing card at Anaheim's Honda Center by the second-most popular fighter from the Philippines.
The extra attention on Nonito Donaire's bantamweight-title elimination bout against Ukraine's Wladimir Sidorenko was created by Tuesday's main-event withdrawal by middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. because of a high fever and flu symptoms.
A week earlier, Alfonso Gomez, Chavez's originally scheduled opponent, backed out because of a torn elbow ligament.
Minutes after learning of his bout's upgraded status, Donaire (24-1, 16 knockouts), who hails from the same hometown in the Philippines, General Santos City, as Manny Pacquiao, said, "These fights are still worth the money. There's going to be some fireworks."
In the 35-year-old Sidorenko (22-2-2, 7 KOs), Donaire confronts a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist and former world bantamweight champion who, like Donaire, has been promised a shot at current bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel in February should he win.
"If they are considering me nothing more than a step along the climb to Montiel, they should be aware that step will be difficult," Sidorenko said through an interpreter before weighing in at 117.6 pounds to Donaire's 118.
The card also includes the World Boxing Council lightweight championship, pitting champion Humberto Soto (53-7-2, 32 KOs) of Mexico against Maywood's Urbano Antillon (28-1, 20 KOs).
There was talk Soto would move up in weight if he were to beat Antillon, but his promoter said this week that if Soto were to win, he would remain in the division to defend his belt against Oxnard's tough Brandon Rios in February.
Another Oxnard fighter, featherweight Mikey Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), will fight Saturday against Olivier Lontchi (18-1-2) of Canada.
And Gomez's replacement, Poland native Pawel Wolak (27-1, 17 KOs), has a middleweight date with Chavez Jr.'s replacement, Mexico's Jose Pinzon.
Promoter Bob Arum said Chavez Jr. lost a $775,000 purse and a possible next fight against junior-middleweight champion Miguel Cotto by pulling out of Anaheim.
Of Saturday's lineup, Arum said, "It's not going to do the pay-per-view sales we were hoping for, but I'm confident it will be a strong card."