By Chris Robinson
Nonito Donaire is the man right now.
Less than a week removed from his spectacular 2nd round TKO over proven threat Fernando Montiel, the Filipino-born, American fighter is still basking in the afterglow of his finest outing as a professional. Donaire seized the WBC and WBO bantamweight belts with his latest victory at the Mandalay Bay, and seems poised to only further heighten his status in the sport.
I ran across Donaire at Thursday's press conference for the Miguel Acosta-Brandon Rios WBA lightweight title bout and spoke to him for a few minutes about how much the victory has impacted his life.
"I'm still on a high right now. It's just been incredible," Donaire gushed.
What was so impressive about Donaire's victory was just how well-timed and delivered his counter left hook was that dropped Montiel and all but ended the fight. Asked for what his mindset was like in the heat of battle, Donaire admitted that it was pretty much the same old song and dance.
"If you look at it, it happened in my last fight and it happens in a lot of the fights I went through," said Donaire of his fistic ways. "That is my initial punch. Sometimes when I feel that I can take the guy's punch I risk myself in front of the guy to get hit to aim for a bigger puncher."
News flash: Brandon Rios and Miguel Acosta both weigh in at 134.5
The shot was reminiscent of the check-hook that dropped trash-talking Vic Darchinyan in July of 2007. Donaire was somewhat of an unknown commodity heading into the contest but came away with one of the year's biggest upsets with his thrashing of the brash Armenian.
So how does the win over Montiel stack up against the Darchinyan showcase?
"This is a sweeter victory," said Donaire. "I really trained hard for this fight. More than ever before."
Moments before I spoke to Donaire, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed to me that he is eyeing a May return for the 28-year old champion. WBA champion Anselmo Moreno seems to be the number one option at this point and the fight would likely take place in Donaire's adopted Bay Area of California.
Donaire trained for the contest out of the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos and couldn't seem to underline how much a return fight in that area would mean to him in order to give back to those in the area who have supported him over the years.
"That would be amazing," he continued. "I'm really happy, finally. I get incredible support from the Bay. Actually a lot of guys where wearing the jackets at the fight. We picked out like 200 jackets and there were more than that who showed up from the Bay Area."
Donaire is a man always on the go and often in the public's eye. He confirmed that he will be eyeing a return flight to the Philippines for somewhat of a grand welcoming and that he would thank everybody personally while overseas.
Donaire's future seems bright and there are still many chapters to be written. For now Nonito is just happy to get out of the fighter's mindset and simply enjoy being himself for a while, as evidenced by his reply to what his near future holds.
"I'm just going to kick it."