By Ryan Maquiñana
You can’t please everyone.
Just ask unified junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire, who has secured a fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with the recognized top 122-pounder in the division, Toshiaki Nishioka—but is remarkably still being panned by some who feel he should be pursuing matchups with fellow beltholders Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares.
“Critics will always be critics. That’s why they’re called critics,” Donaire told CSN Bay Area in a recent video interview. “With me, everyone has their own opinion. I have my own opinion, and the guy that I’ve been looking for in this division is Nishioka from the beginning, unless Rigondeaux or Mares prove themselves worthy of it. If that’s the case, I’m always willing to fight them.”
Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) is no stranger to having beaten some of the best fighters in the lower weight classes. “The Filipino Flash” has earned six title belts in four divisions, calling on his vaunted left hook to score highlight-reel finishes of flyweight Vic Darchinyan and bantamweight Fernando Montiel to earn Knockout of the Year honors from various outlets.
“They’ve known me for a long time, and people know me for a long time,” he added. “The fight is there. The contract is there. I don’t make excuses. If they want to make it happen, let’s make it happen, but aside from that, my goal for this division is who I’m fighting October 13.”
For now, he stands one month away from his latest challenge. Hard at work in Northern California, Donaire has gone through grueling track workouts with Remi Korchemny and nutritionist Victor Conte at the College of San Mateo, while getting his floor work and sparring done at the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos.
Last week, this writer watched Donaire spar seven rounds with unbeaten featherweight prospect Jesus Partida of Redwood City, a rangy southpaw just like Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs). Another promising junior featherweight, Roman Morales, was scheduled to give Donaire even more work later in the week.
“So far so good,” Donaire said. “We’re just trying to get more sparring in, and trying to get to 10, 12 rounds. We’ll be ready, but aside from that, everything’s looking good so far.”
Nishioka has become a mainstay in the division, having defeated former champion Rafael Marquez, Ivan Hernandez, and Jhonny Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Donaire has floored Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Jeffrey Mathebula with the left hook en route to decision victories in both his title fights at 122 pounds.
“It’s definitely going to take more than the left hook to take this guy out,” Donaire said.
Nishoka’s left cross has become the Japanese star’s bread and butter, and Donaire has received a little inspiration from his good friend Andre Ward’s success over southpaw Chad Dawson the previous week.
“I mean, looking at Andre’s fight, we can do something like that, [like] setting him up, and taking away his weapon.”
In June, Donaire made history by announcing he would become the first fighter to submit to year-round random drug testing under the scope of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). Nishioka has been offered a sponsorship by VADA to undergo the same tests leading up to their bout.
“I have offered it to Nishioka and they said they’ll get back to me,” he said. “I’ll probably have VADA contact him and stuff like that, but I did offer it to him.”
Donaire offered an idea of how a regular testing day has transpired.
“It’s just a normal day,” he said. “When they come in, it’s random. And you don’t know and you don’t expect them to be there, but in your daily life, I pretty much do the same thing I always have. It feels like I’m not even in it until they show up at my doorstep and they’re taking my blood and my urine samples.”
In the meantime, Donaire will hold a public workout this Saturday at the Undisputed Gym, unique for the reason that before “The Filipino Flash” gets to work around 1 p.m., he will actually teach a free boxing class to fans starting at noon.
“Bring your gear,” he said, before going into a little detail on what subjects the pugilistic professor plans to educate. “The balance, the jabs, the straight, how to work, how to use power, and how to use the body to increase the power and speed—I’ll be teaching a little bit of that.
“So if you guys are interested, come down to Undisputed on September at 12 o’clock. You guys will learn something.”
The Undisputed Boxing Gym is located at 883 E. San Carlos Rd., which is off Industrial Rd., in San Carlos, Calif.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.