Saturday, July 7, 2012

Nonito Donaire striving to be the best


Nonito Donaire’s only professional loss came in his second fight. Eleven years, four world titles later, Donaire, 29, enters Saturday’s junior featherweight fight against Jeffrey Mathebula in search of a fifth world title.

Donaire, the current WBO junior featherweight champion faces IBF champion Mathebula (26-3-2, 14 KOs) in a unification bout at the Home Depot Center tonight.

Both fighters weighed in under the 122-pound limit. Donaire at 121.4 and Mathebula at 121.8

Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) has won titles at bantamweight, super flyweight and flyweight. He defeated Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in his recent fight in February to win the WBO junior featherweight belt.

In 2001, one month after making his professional debut, Donaire suffered a five-round unanimous decision loss to Rosendo Sanchez.

Donaire was only 21 at the time.

“I said to myself that I was going to quit,” Donaire said. “I felt like when I fought in the (2000) Olympic Trials, they took it away from me and the second time I fought on the professional level, I felt like that fight was taken away as well.

“My heart wasn’t into it, but I couldn’t let my pride down. I told myself that if I’m going to be in boxing, then I’m going to give it all I’ve got. That’s what has got me here.”

Sanchez’s career ended one fight after defeating Donaire. Meanwhile, Donaire hasn’t lost since. He is currently in the midst of a 27-fight, 11-year winning streak.

“He’s right on the verge of being a superstar in the Filipino community,” Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin said. “He’s been on the verge for a long time. Maybe it will take Manny (Pacquiao) retiring, I hope it doesn’t.

“They’re (the public) really missing something here. I’m hoping they will come out and see him and then we can open the door toward him growing in the Filipino community and in the boxing community.”

Top Rank had Donaire out in the Carson community Thursday. He met with Councilman Elito M. Santarina at City Hall and followed that with a meet-up with across the street from City Hall.

Donaire was born in the Philippines. He moved to the United States in the early 1990’s.

“I’m thankful of all the fans, all around the world, mainly the Filipino community,” Donaire said this week. “They have been incredible with their support and I’m thankful for that.”

Donaire won his first title at flyweight, with a KO victory over Vic Darchinyan in 2007. He won the super flyweight title in 2009 with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Rafael Concepcion.

A move the bantamweight came in 2010 and with it came victories over Wladimir Sidorenko and a second-round KO victory over Fernando Montiel for the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles.

“He just wants to fight,” Dunkin said of Donaire. “That’s his demeanor. Like this fight (against Mathebula), this is a tough guy. I asked him (Donaire) are you sure you want this against a guy 5-10 1/2, who looks like a lightweight?”

“He said I want a challenge. That was the same with his fight against (Vic) Darchinyan, Wladimir (Sidorenko) and (Fernando) Montiel … Nonito is a real fighter and he wants to be in real fights and that’s what motivates him.”

He also motivated by what’s possibly ahead of him at 122 pounds and even at 126.

A victory against Mathebula and Donaire will likely face Jorge Arce in the fall. WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux is out there, so is WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Nishioka will be watching from ringside.

“He has so many guys that he can fight,” Top Rank’s Bob Arum said. “There are so many talented guys at 122 and at 126 there are even more. He’s not going to lack for competition.

But for Donaire, it is one fight, title and opponent at a time.

“(Jeffrey) Mathebula is an incredible fighter and we can’t look past him,” Donaire said. “I knew this guy would motivate me and he made me train as hard as I did.

“There are a lot of fighters in this division. We’re fighting for the IBF (Saturday) and once we get past that we have the WBA or the WBC. That’s what I want to do. I want to clean up this division and conquer it. That’s my dream.”

No comments:

Post a Comment