by Ronnie Nathanielsz
As he chases a fifth world title in the featherweight division against WBA champion Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire has stepped up his training for the Macau showdown on May 31 and hurt former WBC super bantamweight Silver Champion Sylvester Lopez during five rounds of sparring at the Elorde Gym in Paranaque on Tuesday night.
Lopez, one of the most promising fighters in the stable of Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde Jr who told us he weighed 140 pounds was willing to engage Donaire in some torrid exchanges but the speed and power of the 2012 “Fighter of the Year” proved too much although Lopez told the Manila Standard it was “a great learning experience” for him.
Lopez winced when Donaire caught him with a left hook to the side of the body but backed off when he felt he had hurt Lopez who gamely went forward and traded some big shots.
Lopez told the Manila Standard that Donaire was “fast and if I didn’t block some of his punches I would have been dropped. He hit me with one big shot but of he repeated it I would have been in trouble.”
After his sparring session Donaire told us “overall I feel good but you know we need a little bit more and then we should be ready. I didn’t try to hit Sylvester hard because when I’m sparring I just work. If I hit him the way I hit the mitts then it would be a different story.”
He commended Lopez as “a good fighter and a tough guy and I’m not here to knock guys out. He has an amazing jab and overall our sparring was good.”
Donaire drove himself to the limit sometimes even having a difference of opinion with strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson on when to stop, very much like “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao who often goes an extra round or two in sparring against the wishes of celebrated trainer Freddie Roach.
Aside from a morning workout in which he also swam, Donaire went through a rigorous plyometrics regimen in the evening aside from working on the punch mitts with his father/trainer Nonito “Dodong” Donaire Sr. who absorbed some thunderous body shots on his protector and ripping combinations against the mitts.
Plyometrics which is also known as “jump training” are exercises based on having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible and helps increase speed, power and explosiveness.