By Chris Robinson
If you walk into trainer Robert Garciaís personal gym in Oxnard, Calif. late in the afternoon these days you will be able to spot a new face in the facility, as former multi-division world champion Nonito Donaire has dived back into training.
Donaire is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Cubaís Guillermo Rigondeaux this past April and he will be looking to get back on track come Nov. 9 with his rematch against Armeniaís Vic Darchinyan.
And while Garcia has been in the corner of Donaire for nearly four years, this marks the first time that the Fil-Am star has left the comforts of his training bases in Northern California to embark on a full-fledged regimen in Oxnard.
Following an intense sparring session with upcoming prospect Rudy Ochoa, I was able to sit down with Donaire and pick his brain on a variety of subjects.
Read below for Donaireís thoughts on what itís been like training in Oxnard, why heís still hopeful for a match with Abner Mares, how he is hoping to restore his hunger as a prizefighter, the importance of avenging the Rigondeaux defeat, and much more.
Getting used to his new surroundingsÖ
ďItís good, actually. Robertís gym is an amazing gym. Itís spacious, itís nice, but most of all the atmosphere; everybodyís a fighter here. Champions and up and comers. And the atmosphere, just the mentality of it all. Itís incredible, itís different.Ē
Why he isnít overlooking Vic DarchinyanÖ
ďHeís always going to be a dangerous guy, because no matter how old you get, youíre always going to have that power. Like Azumah Nelson. Azumah Nelson always had that power and he was always a dangerous fighter. With Darchinyan, he may not be the same physically but heís still strong and heís still a dangerous opponent. And thatís one thing we canít look past.Ē
Breaking away from the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos for this campÖ
ďThey are my family. Those guys are my family. For now itís just more of searching; what can inspire me? What can get me in better shape? This is the first time I tried out here and so far itís been good. My guys will always support me. Again, itís just more of searching for me what is better. I want to be on top and in order for me to be on top I canít be sitting idly.Ē
Thoughts on Abner Maresí upset first round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez last monthÖ
ďEverybody can get hit with something like that. He apparently got hit with something as powerful as Gonzalezís punches, but that fight doesnít really make him who he is. Heís always going to be a champion; heís always going to be that person that made it on top and beat everybody in the division. Hopefully he can get the title back and we can make it happen. But itís not really our choice. We always can say we want to fight each other. We already know we want to fight each other. Itís just, the promoters and the networks need to somehow make it happen. Itís just a difficult situation. Fighters are not what they are, what people think they are. We donít get that option.Ē
More thoughts on the promotional war between Top Rank and Golden Boy and how itís impacted the sportÖ
ďItís unfortunate, because thereís good [fighters] from both promotions. They can make incredible fights. And hopefully they can make it happen, because regardless of what the network does for us, Iím always thankful for them. They make the fights happen for us, they give us an opportunity, and weíre happy with that. Ultimately, the people, the fans are the ones that are getting out of the fight. For us, we want to fight the best out there. But if not, we still get the opportunity and Iím always thankful for HBO and for Top Rank as well. Likewise with Mares and his promotion and network. Again, itís pretty much the people who miss out on it. For us, weíre just happy to be back in that ring.Ē
Looking to regain his driveÖ
ďIím getting old man. Iím waking up and Iím hurting all over the place. They can say Iím still young, yeah Iím 31, but for a lot of Asian guys, we get old fast in boxing. Usually youíll see guys at 30 and theyíre done. Iím at that age and Iím turning 31 in November. I still feel good; I think itís more of the drive. When I was talking to Robert here, when I was younger and I was coming up in the professional level, my mind was ĎI want this; I want that.í My mind now is, Iíve got to change it because I know itís not there. The drive is not there. Thatís something that me and Robert were talking about, that weíre creating that drive back. I shouldnít get hit with the punches that Iím getting hit with. Weíre just kind of re-energizing that mentally and hopefully we can gain back the old me.Ē
Finding a new rhythmÖ
ďPhysically Iím good. Itís just more of the drive. I think Iím just satisfied with my life. But again, we still want the rematch [with Rigondeaux]. We want to make it happen and hopefully that drive will spark up. But Iím not sure at this point. Just the mentality, Iíve got to put it together. I want to fight Darchinyan. We want to make it happen and we want to fight the best out there. We want to get the rematch and hopefully that will inspire me to keep working hard. Just being with Robert, the guys out here, itís brining back to when I was in the amateurs and we trained together. Iíve always just been trained by myself, so that made it hard for me to find rhythm. But now Iím finding that and Iím realizing the mistakes that Iíve been doing in the past.Ē
Using the loss to Rigondeaux as inspirationÖ
ďEvery fighter will always avenge something. But itís not a thorn, because Iím using it as motivation to where Iím at. Why did I lose? Why did I fail? Itís a motivation to figure out who I am. To figure out what I need in boxing. Itís not so much a thorn, but more of a motivation. But, being a fighter, of course you want something that was taken. And thatís one thing I want. But Iím not going to sacrifice weakness for it. Iím getting older and heís older too. So, at 126 I feel good. The way I go into that sparring session, the way I go into that fight, I want to go in that way. Not going into that sparring session and itís a different guy in that ring. I think that has to do with just being older and Iím not the same. If it was 10 years ago, I could go down to 112. But now I canít do that. I can see now there is difficulty losing weight. But we just want to keep moving up from this point on and keep rising.Ē
Tags: Nonito Donaire , Guillermo Rigondeaux , Vic Darchinyan , Donaire-Darchinyan Rematch , Donaire vs. Darchinyan Rematch
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